Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

71. Candace Parker

United States
Age: 22

She first burst onto the sports scene in high school, when she beat the boys at an All-Star game dunk contest. And like LeBron James before her, Parker has actually risen above the hype. During her college career at Tennessee, Parker scored 1,000 points faster than any other player in the program's storied history. The Lady Vols won the last two NCAA tournaments, and Parker was the Most Outstanding Player of consecutive Final Fours. In her WNBA debut this spring, Parker, who is 6-ft.4-in., scored 34 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and dished out 8 assists. She'll need to bring her A game to Beijing. The U.S. has won the last three gold medals, but the rest of the world is catching up: the Americans finished third at the '06 World Championships. "There's a passing of the torch this year, from an older generation of players to the younger ones," says Parker. "And we can't start our legacy by losing."