The People Who Paved The Way

The People Who Paved The Way

Ironically, it is in this moment of receiving my greatest living honor that I finally understand and realize my own insignificance.

Candice Wiggins, as the world knows her on the basketball court, would never have existed if not for these people who paved the way not only for my career to flourish as an athlete, but for my life to hold significance in a way that is highly impactful to those around me.

My personality has been shaped by the small sacrifices of these people, who saw something special inside me and made a conscious effort to clear a way for me to use my determination and be the highly competitive player that I ultimately became.


Family

Grandma Anna "Pearl" Woods

My grandmother has always been my spiritual counselor throughout my life and always brings light to any darkness that permeates my world. For example, from as early as my father's funeral, where we wore matching yellow dresses, she has given me nothing but sunshine in a sometimes dark and difficult experience. I remember when I was at Stanford, she gifted me a Bible and explained how I would always have a true friend in Christ, even if it felt like I was abandoned.

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I remembered these very words when I was met with my greatest challenge: our Stanford team was about to play the University of Maryland in the 2008 Elite 8. In my despair, when I felt as though I had no one to talk to, I called my grandma that day and that phone call shaped the rest of my life as I know it.

Cassandra and Alan

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Uncle Darrell

My mother's brother Darrell McKenzie is more than my beloved uncle, he is the closest I have ever had to a father, and my appreciation for him for protecting me and my family cannot be expressed. More than anything, he helped structure my confidence to understand that my dreams were not only believable, but also achievable. He taught me how to live and lead by example.

Kelly, Cheri, Juste and "Lil' D"

Uncle Darrell wearing his loyalty on his head by donning a righteous Stanford hat.

Uncle Darrell wearing his loyalty on his head by donning a righteous Stanford hat.

Uncle Don

My father's brother showered me with love and support long before the very first day I started playing basketball at 5 years old. With all the pressure that overwhelmed me from the time my career started flourishing at 6 and 7 years old, my Uncle Don allowed me to see how different my life could be from that of my father's, and from this revelation basketball became a perfect escape from the baseball world I was born into. I appreciate him most for this. 

Mary Jo, Nathan and Meredith

Aunt Jackie 

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Uncle Ron, Cousin Timothy and Jeremy

Aunt Melinda, Dexter, Kennedy, Sasha, Kiah, and Skylar

Tywan

Uncle David, Uncle Cedric, Uncle Rodney, Marina, Lil' Rodney, Tyler

Shaneka, Pat and Richard Wesley


High School Coaches

Corrine Brunn

Ozhan Bahrambeygui

Gail Kuwatani (physical therapist/mentor)


High School Teammates

Volleyball

Kim McGiven

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Rachell Johnson

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Candace Saleaumua

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Basketball

Ashley Rentz 

Ashley was not only my best friend, she was my best rebounder. She also set the meanest screens for me. I adore this woman, all for who she is and more.

Ashley was not only my best friend, she was my best rebounder. She also set the meanest screens for me. I adore this woman, all for who she is and more.

Kaili Eszlinger

June Brubaker

Bre Settles

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Ashley Booker

LaToya Cunningham

Mercedes Fox-Griffin

Chrystina Sayers

Marissa Rivera

Gabi Douglass

Danielle Kerper

Teacher

Mrs. Brower 

Glen Pritzker

Rod Jemison

Sarah Bakhiet

My US History teacher Sarah Bakhiet is by far the most righteous woman I know. I am grateful for everything she taught me.

My US History teacher Sarah Bakhiet is by far the most righteous woman I know. I am grateful for everything she taught me.

Deborah Shaul

Mr. Sanders

Ms. Taylor

Mrs. Mount-Essex

Mr. Edmond

Coach Brannon


Stanford Support

Denise Corlett

Amy Tucker

Kate Paye

Karen Middleton

Bobbi Kelsey

Charmin Smith

Julie Rousseau

Brian Risso

Stanford Teammates

Ogonna Nnamani

Nji Nnamani

Susan King-Borchardt

Clare Bodensteiner 

Jessie Elway

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Brooke Smith

Krista Rappahahn

Melanie Murphy

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JJ Hones

Jayne Appel

Michelle Harrison

Jeannette Pohlen

Kayla Pederson

Hannah Donaghe

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Ashley Cimino

Jillian Harmon

Markisha Coleman

Eziamaka Okafor

Shelley Nweke

Kristen Newlin

Christy Titchenal

Morgan Clyburn

Cissy Pierce

Rosalyn Gold-Onwude

Special Seniors

Kelley Suminski

Sebnem Kimyaciolglu

Azella Perryman

T'Nae Thiel

Stanford Roommates

Amanda and Laurie

Laurie, also known as Dollie #2, was my freshman year roommate and truly made my Stanford experience complete. 

Laurie, also known as Dollie #2, was my freshman year roommate and truly made my Stanford experience complete. 

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My other freshman year roommate Amanda was a fiercely loyal woman from my motherland Maryland. Here she is seen supporting my WNBA career when I would play the Washington Mystics and we would get together afterwards.

My other freshman year roommate Amanda was a fiercely loyal woman from my motherland Maryland. Here she is seen supporting my WNBA career when I would play the Washington Mystics and we would get together afterwards.

Lee Michael Zapata

The kids from my freshman dorm, Roble Hall, have set the foundation to the friendships I have built over the past 15 years. Led by the bleeding man in the middle, Lee Michael Zapata.

The kids from my freshman dorm, Roble Hall, have set the foundation to the friendships I have built over the past 15 years. Led by the bleeding man in the middle, Lee Michael Zapata.

Roble Hall 2A  

Best Friends

Franci Girard

Tomell DeSilva 

Tomell, literally my best friend in the whole wide world. We met Fall 2004 as a pair of fearless, yet fearful freshmen at Stanford. He supported me most throughout my basketball career as a true friend off the court.

Tomell, literally my best friend in the whole wide world. We met Fall 2004 as a pair of fearless, yet fearful freshmen at Stanford. He supported me most throughout my basketball career as a true friend off the court.

Sorority Sisters

Jessica Johnson

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Portia Brown

Desiree Burroughs-Ray

Tomi Onatunde

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Reyna Camps

Maisha Davis

Maisha holds a high significance to my life: not only is she my Dean (sorority), we also competed against each other in high school for a state championship, when she played for Pilgrim. 

Maisha holds a high significance to my life: not only is she my Dean (sorority), we also competed against each other in high school for a state championship, when she played for Pilgrim. 

Brotherhood

Akintunde Maiyegun

Tunde and I met in the computer lab, when we were the only 2 in the room. Although he never played sports, he joined our brother fraternity, and greatest of all we continue to support one another throughout our lives. Here he is seen with me and Ros in 2015 during my last year playing basketball for the New York Liberty.

Tunde and I met in the computer lab, when we were the only 2 in the room. Although he never played sports, he joined our brother fraternity, and greatest of all we continue to support one another throughout our lives. Here he is seen with me and Ros in 2015 during my last year playing basketball for the New York Liberty.


Stanford Professors

Clayborne Carson

Patrick Hunt


There are countless more on this list; many, many people who share a special part of me. Today I understand how vast the influence around me has been throughout the entire course of my basketball career and my life. As I hold on to the memories of all of those who have shaped my past, I look ahead to the future. I finally realize this most important thought: nobody goes through life or ever accomplishes anything significant alone.

There is a team for every time and place in your life.

Four time All-American, WNBA Champion, Edutainer and Coach