Sparks' Parker named 2013 WNBA MVP

September 19, 2013 - 7:13pm
The Los Angeles Sparks' Candace Parker accepts the 2013 WNBA Most Valuable Player trophy from league president Laurel Richie on Thursday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It is the second MVP award in Parker's six-year career as a pro. (Photo by Lee Michaelson)

The Los Angeles Sparks' Candace Parker accepts the 2013 WNBA Most Valuable Player trophy from league president Laurel Richie on Thursday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It is the second MVP award in Parker's six-year career as a pro. (Photo by Lee Michaelson)

LOS ANGELES – For the second time in her six-year career, Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks has been named the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player, league president Laurel Richie announced Thursday in a press conference preceding the Sparks’ first-round playoff game against the Phoenix Mercury.  Parker received 234 points, including 10 first-place votes, from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters. In honor of being named the WNBA Most Valuable Player, Parker will receive $15,000 and a specially-designed trophy.

Parker first won the award in 2008, when she became the first – and still the only -- player in WNBA history to earn both MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season. 

At the time, Parker’s unique combination of talents – at 6-5, she is most often called upon to play the post, where she has risen to the challenge by becoming the second player to dunk in the course of a game and routinely dominating the backboards and swatting shot attempts clear way into the stands, but at the same time can handle the ball like a guard – led to high expectations that this heir-apparent to Lisa Leslie would change the face of the game. But in accepting the award, Parker recalled the chain of events -- pregnancy with her first child led to a delayed start and diminished productivity in her second season and a string of injuries followed over the next few years -- that the All-Star of the legacy many thought would be hers.

This season, however, Parker returned healthy, for the most part (Parker missed three games in early August due to a wrist injury, but returned in top form by August 8), and guided the Sparks to a 24-10 record, tied for the second-best mark in the league, and the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed. And though Parker did not take any of the league’s Peak Performer Awards, bestowed on the WNBA’s top scorer, rebounder, and assist leader, she proved she knows how to fill a stat sheet: She ranked fourth in the WNBA blocks (1.84 bpg), sixth in scoring (17.9 ppg), seventh in rebounding (8.7 rpg) and double-doubles (eight), and 12th in assists (career-high 3.8 apg).  She paced the Sparks in scoring, rebounding and blocks, while ranking second on the team in assists and steals (1.29 spg).  Parker scored at least 20 points 13 times, including a season-best 30 points in a 94-78 win over Tulsa on July 11.

After the Sparks started the season 5-4, Parker’s strong play in July led the team to a 7-2 mark for the month.  In those nine July contests, Parker averaged 19.8 points and 9.0 rebounds while earning Western Conference Player of the Month honors.  She scored at least 20 points in six of the nine games and averaged 23.2 points over two weeks (five games) to earn back-to-back Western Conference Player of the Week awards.  Overall, she earned three Player of the Week awards this season, increasing her career total to 13.

The regular-season MVP award is the second top honor of the season for Parker, who was crowned MVP of the 2013 Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game after setting a scoring record with 23 points.  Her stat line for the star-studded event included 11 rebounds and 10-for-13 shooting from the field as she led the Western Conference to a 102-98 victory over the East.

Parker described herself as "surprised" and "humbled" to receive the award in light of the abundance of elite players whose record put them in contention for the honor. Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore finished second in the voting with 218 points (including 10 first-place votes) and Chicago Sky rookie forward/guard Elena Delle Donne finished third with 189 points (seven first-place votes).  Rounding out the top five vote-getters were Sky center Sylvia Fowles (109, six first-place votes) and Atlanta Dream forward/guard Angel McCoughtry (90 points, two first-place votes), who finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five for third, three for fourth and one for each fifth-place vote received.

Parker becomes the fifth player to earn multiple WNBA MVP awards, joining Lauren Jackson (three), Lisa Leslie (three), Sheryl Swoopes (three), and Cynthia Cooper (two).                      

Below are the complete results of the 2013 WNBA Most Valuable Player of the Year award votes and a list of past recipients:



                       Points                Player                                     Team

234                 Candace Parker                    Los Angeles Sparks

218                  Maya Moore                            Minnesota Lynx

189                  Elena Delle Donne                   Chicago Sky

109                  Sylvia Fowles                           Chicago Sky

90                    Angel McCoughtry                   Atlanta Dream

69                    Diana Taurasi                          Phoenix Mercury

43                    Tamika Catchings                    Indiana Fever

34                    Lindsay Whalen                       Minnesota Lynx

13                    Tina Thompson                       Seattle Storm

7                      Lindsey Harding                      Los Angeles Sparks

5                      Nneka Ogwumike                    Los Angeles Sparks

1                      Seimone Augustus                  Minnesota Lynx

1                      DeWanna Bonner                    Phoenix Mercury

1                      Tina Charles                           Connecticut Sun



                       Points                Player                                     Team

                       2013                  Candace Parker                     Los Angeles Sparks

                       2012                  Tina Charles                            Connecticut Sun

                       2011                  Tamika Catchings                    Indiana Fever

                       2010                  Lauren Jackson                        Seattle Storm

                       2009                  Diana Taurasi                          Phoenix Mercury

                       2008                  Candace Parker                        Los Angeles Sparks

                       2007                  Lauren Jackson                        Seattle Storm

                       2006                  Lisa Leslie                               Los Angeles Sparks    

                       2005                  Sheryl Swoopes                       Houston Comets

                       2004                  Lisa Leslie                               Los Angeles Sparks

                       2003                  Lauren Jackson                        Seattle Storm

                       2002                  Sheryl Swoopes                       Houston Comets

                       2001                  Lisa Leslie                               Los Angeles Sparks

                       2000                  Sheryl Swoopes                       Houston Comets

                       1999                  Yolanda Griffith                       Sacramento Monarchs

                       1998                  Cynthia Cooper                       Houston Comets

                       1997                  Cynthia Cooper                       Houston Comets


Source: Portions of this story were obtained from a WNBA press release.