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The time Candace Parker beat Josh Smith, J.R. Smith and, Rudy Gay in a dunk contest

Candace Parker put on a show in a dunk contest against a few future NBA players
Candace Parker & J.R. Smith and Josh Smith

Candace Parker & J.R. Smith and Josh Smith

When? Monday, March 29th, 2004.

Where? A high school gymnasium located in Oklahoma City,

Who? A 17-year-old Candance Parker would make history by becoming the first woman ever to win the McDonalds High School All-American Dunk Contest.

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Candace Parker found her way into the spotlight

At the time, Candace Parker was a senior in high school and was proclaimed by some to be the female LeBron James in the making. She was already committed to Tennessee and ready to show the world what she's got at the college level. But before that, Candace would find her way into the spotlight by participating in the McDonald's High School All-American Game dunk contest.

The competition was stacked with numerous future NBA players in the competition. Names like Rudy Gay, Josh Smith, and J.R. Smith were all seniors ready to jump out of the gym. All of these players would later participate in the NBA Dunk Contest. Candace was the outsider, but she had the crowd behind her.

The 6'4'' Parker showed off a few one-handed dunks, adding a bit of flare with some behind-the-back moves or covering her eyes. Even though the other participants were pulling impressive athletic dunks, Parker got the most love from the crowd and judges, eventually causing her to win it all.

Her dunks were no joke

The organization wanted her in the event because of the story and publicity it would bring, which turned out to be a good idea. To see a female basketball player dunking and competing against male players was a breath of fresh air. Maybe they went a bit too far with giving her the win, even though the other participants had much better dunks. But graded on a scale, her dunks were no joke.

In the end, it was more about the message of equality and female empowerment. Candace Parker built a remarkable WNBA career. She is still playing for the Chicago Sky and works as an analyst on Inside the NBA, where she occasionally schools legends like Shaq on the modern style of basketball.

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