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Forward, Los Angeles Sparks
Los Angeles Sparks (2008-current)
Despite having played in just parts of three WNBA seasons, the fewest among the 30 nominees, Parker burst on the scene in 2008 when she became the first WNBA player to earn Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in the same season. With that, Parker joined Wilt Chamberlain and Wes Unseld as the only professional American basketball players to accomplish this feat. In that fabulous ‘08 campaign, Parker nearly averaged a double-double (18.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg), led the league in rebounds, became the second player in WNBA history to dunk in a regular season game, and recorded the league’s first-ever “5x5,” in which she accumulated five or more in five different categories: points (16), rebounds (16), blocks (6), assists (5), and steals (5) in a single game. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 Draft, Parker earned an Olympic gold medal that same year.