Shaquille O'Neal and Newly-Retired WNBA Star Candace Parker Tell Each Other 'I Love You' in Sweet Moment

After her retirement on April 28, Adidas named Parker the president of their women's basketball division

<p>Getty </p> Shaquille O


Shaquille O'Neal and Candace Parker

Shaquille O'Neal and Candace Parker shared a sweet moment after the WNBA star announced her retirement — and her new job.

During the May 8 episode of Inside the NBA, O'Neal, 52, and his TNT co-hosts congratulated Parker, 38, on her new role as the president of Adidas' women's basketball division, and the heartwarming interaction was a hit with basketball fans.

O'Neal said, "I don't have a question. I just want to say you know how I feel about you. I love you. I'm so proud of you. Good luck in your new endeavor."

The Los Angeles Lakers legend added, "I appreciate our friendship very much and I am so proud of you," before telling Parker, "Love you" one more time.

Parker returned the love, telling O'Neal, "I love you too," and "I appreciate you," before sharing that he was a source of inspiration for her as she contemplated her retirement.

Parker explained that O'Neal's decision to retire, which he did in 2011, helped her realize "it was time" to transition into a new chapter. "I recently saw your podcast where you were talking about why you retired, because you felt like you weren’t 'him' anymore," Parker said during the segment.

Related: WNBA Star Candace Parker Announces She’s Retiring: ‘It’s Time’

The three-time WNBA champion explained that O'Neal is a role model for her in sports and business.

"You realize after a long time, you've dominated for a long time, and now you can't do it and it's not as fun anymore, so I appreciate you being a role model for me, not only on the court because we know what you do, but off the court," Parker shared.

She added, "I'm trying to be a business woman like you, so thank you for raising the bar and continuing to be a great friend and partner for me."

Related: Shaquille O'Neal's Ex-Wife Shaunie Says She's Not Sure She Ever Loved Him — and He Says 'I Understand'

Parker played 16 seasons in the WNBA before her retirement. In 2010, she became the first woman with a signature basketball shoe for Adidas.

In a statement to ESPN after she was announced as the shoe brand's new president of women's basketball, Adidas basketball's global GM Eric Wise said, "In her new role as President, Parker will collaborate with the brand to create a powerful platform aimed at influencing and elevating the future of women's sports."

Wise said in his statement that Parker "will leverage her deep understanding of the game and the needs of female athletes to define a clear and impactful direction, with a focus on access, increased representation, and breaking down barriers on a global scale" for the brand.

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When she announced her retirement on April 28, Parker penned a lengthy message to her fans, writing, "I fell in love with a little orange ball at 13 years old and BECAUSE of it my world goes ‘round."

"The highs are unmatched & the lows taught me lessons. On & off the court I’m proud I’ve always been true & stayed true to ME, even when it wasn’t popular."

She went on to share some of her plans post-retirement, including her big dreams on the business end of basketball. "I’m attacking business, private equity, ownership (I will own both a NBA & WNBA team), broadcasting, production, boardrooms, beach volleyball, dominoes (sorry babe it’s going to get more real) with the same intensity & focus I did basketball," Parker wrote.

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