‘He Doesn’t Like Me, I Don’t Like Him’| Candace Parker vs. Geno Auriemma Beef Started When She Chose Tennessee Over UConn

Candace Parker and Geno Auriemma have had beef ever since she chose Tennessee over UConn and he snubbed her from 2016 Olympic Team. (Photo: Getty Images/Team USA)

The UConn Huskies and Tennessee Volunteers rivalry in Women’s College Basketball began with Geno Auriemma and the late great Pat Summitt agreeing to play every regular season beginning in 1995.

They also met frequently in the NCAA Tournament. At the time of the agreement they were the two top programs in the sport. Then in 2006, Summitt suddenly ended the rivalry.

WNBA superstar Candace Parker, who was the No.1 overall recruit in 2005, chose Tennessee over UConn. Parker feels Auriemma has always had it out for her because of her decision to play for Summit.

The relationship Parker built with Summitt (who had no problem coming to the inner-city in Chicago to recruit Parker) played a huge role in the young phenom signing with the Vols. CP3 admired the motherly side of Summitt, and her empowerment of women in the sport. She was also an outspoken voice for Black athletes and that meant something to Parker.

Parker recently did an interview with Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report, where she shared her disdain for Geno after he cut her prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Parker was hurt a lot during the 2016 WNBA season, but still finished as the league’s most efficient player. She was also finally healthy at the time of the Olympics. As a two-time League MVP, and arguably the league’s best player, there was no way there were 5 better players than her, let alone 12.

In The Words Of Gang Starr, “Take It Personal”

 

Parker believes the sunb was personal and had nothing to do with basketball. Her omission has been a sore spot for many fans of the sport, who often accuse Auriemma of favoring his own UConn players over other qualified ballers.

“It wasn’t on the court. So if it’s me as an individual, as a person. I’m spending time away from my daughter to come and do these camps where I’m not even being judged off of how I’m playing. Just tell me, and then don’t beat around the bush.”

Parker recorded a triple-double in one of the camps and excelled on the hardwood as she always has. She led the team in minutes, rebounds, assists and blocked shots during a four-game European tour in 2015. If age was a factor Geno couldn’t use that either, as former UConn players Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi who made the team, are three years older than “CP3.”

Parker Played Sparingly In 2012 Under Geno

Parker played very sparingly during the 2012 London Games, and upon hearing Geno was returning to lead the 2016 team she almost didn’t even try out.

“As soon as he was named coach again, I was like ‘Ah well, this is gonna get interesting.’ Parker took it even further and gave a blunt response about their dislike for each other.

“He doesn’t like me, I don’t like him.”

A lot of that, she said, stems from her time at Tennessee (2005-08) where UConn didn’t win a championship. The Huskies also went (0-4) versus those Parker-led Volunteer teams, and watched them cut down the nets twice.

Parker says she was still capable of playing on the team even with the discord so strong between the two.

“We don’t like each other … But I’m of the mindset that I don’t have to like you to play for you. I don’t have to like you to play with you. And it’s fine, cool. They made their decision.”

 

Many Thought Parker Would Return For The 2020 Tokyo Games

Following the announcement that Geno Auriemma wouldn’t return as coach for the Tokyo Games, many believed Parker would once again don the “Red, White and Blue.” She declined Team USA’s offer as she stated she couldn’t return after using the situation as a teaching tool for her teenage daughter.

“I can’t teach my daughter lessons and tell her about respect and communication and all that stuff and then go back to that. I’m done. I’m happy I got two gold medals. I appreciate the experience, and I wish them well, honestly … it’s important for USA to stay on top.”

 

Parker Takes Shot at USA Basketball

CP3 believes the dominance Team USA has displayed has come in spite of its governing body not evolving. In turn, that’s put the onus on the players to be even better, which they have based on the results.

“For a long time, women dreamed of playing in the Olympics, and they would do anything at any cost to get there. And I think the evolution over time needs to be more about the players’ health.”

Parker just led her hometown team Chicago Sky to its first WNBA Championship after spending the first 13 years of her career with the LA Sparks. She’s the most recognizable women’s analyst in the pro hoops game and continues to set a standard of excellence, on and off the court, that is globally recognized.

Geno Auriemma will have to keep it real about why he purposely tried to suppress Candace Parker’s shine. We know he has an ego, but we’d all agree that as a coach he blurred the lines of professionalism and changed the course of history because he felt a way. And that’s not cool.


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