Is Candace Sweet (or Hot) Enough?

http://www.courant.com/media/photo/2007-01/27243773.jpg

You probably didn’t hear them, but a lot of people screamed “Hallelujah” today when Candace Parker, one of the best basketball player on the planet, said she was going pro. Parker will graduate from the University of Tennessee this spring, and although she has another year of eligibility she’ll opt to play in the WNBA rather wear burnt orange for another season.

The hosannas came from those who’ve tried and tried and tried again to make the WNBA work, to make it matter to more than a small gaggle of fans. In their minds, Parker is The One. She’s the one who’ll make us care, who’ll make us watch, who’ll make little girls across the nation beg to tune into the summer games featuring the world’s best female players.

It almost seems preordained. Parker is the unquestioned face of women’s college basketball. Heck she may be the very face of college basketball. Period. (Is any male player more well known?) She’s one of only six players to dunk at that level (remember when a woman dunking was really a big deal?). In fact as a high-school player she defeated five boys, fellow all-American prepsters, to win a dunk contest. She’s won a national title, played on the U.S. team, and will almost certainly be one of the most high-profile Olympians in Beijing.

Moreover, the cards are aligned to team the 6-4 Parker with the baddest mother-baller out there, Los Angeles center/model/mom Lisa Leslie. The Sparks own the No. 1 pick in the upcoming WNBA draft and unless LeBron or Kobe gets a sex-change operation, they’ll chose Parker, placing her in the No. 2 media market in the nation.

So, if she’s not The One, then who is?

Answer: Nobody.

Candace Parker cannot “save” the WNBA. Just as The Last One – Diana Turasi – couldn’t save it. Nor could Sue Bird, Swin Cash or Theresa Edwards or Sheryl Swoops or Cynthia Cooper or any of the wonderful athletes who have donned WNBA uniforms during the league’s 11 seasons.

I don’t believe in saviors – not in sports, at least. And to think any one athlete can “save” a sport is ludicrous. Not even MJ saved the NBA and today, it’s not just LeBron who’s given the league new life. It’s Chris Paul. It’s Dwight Howard. It’s Deron Williams. It’s Dwayne Wade. It’s Steve Nash. It’s, well, you get the point.

Candace Parker will be great for the WNBA. But the league’s needs more than she can provide.

It needs smart management. It needs smarter marketing. It needs more compelling combatants. It needs rivalries more fans will care about. It needs a bit of luck, too.

The players have done all they can. They simply can’t be Tennessee or UConn or Texas or Duke – schools, like many others, whose indigenous fans support them season in and season out, no matter who’s wearing the uniform. Right now, the WNBA does not have those kinds of fans. At least not yet. And I’m not sure they would even if they opened franchises in Knoxville, Storrs, Austin or Durham.

What they can best hope for is that Candace Parker becomes the league’s tipping point. They can hope that she becomes the face of American pride in Beijing and that her success makes Madison Avenue swoon. (In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if by the time this item is posted, one of Nike’s minion isn’t already in Knoxville with a fat deal.)

 

candace parker

Parker and NBA rookie whiz Kevin Durant (pictured with her below) – They Got Next. They’ve got the game and the charisma to fly behind those players who’ve solidified the foundation. (And she is pretty cute – if not “hot”,” as this site attests.)

For Candace the pivotal question isn’t whether she’s good enough, but this: Will her sweetness (or hotness) be enough?

The image “http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2007/sioncampus/05/10/candace.parker.crush/p1_parker.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

23 thoughts on “Is Candace Sweet (or Hot) Enough?

  1. Leon Wynter says:

    Just a really nice piece, Roy; and your news instincts are keen as ever. When you talk about luck, the shamrock that all of b-ball—men and womens—desperately needs is teams worth caring about (or just worth a damn) right here in New York. It’s AMAZING to me that the NBA can still function with the Knicks only equal in importance to the local hockey teams (whoever they are, again).
    God bless Candace; may she lead the Lady Vols to the baddest March coming out party ever!

  2. greg. says:

    A really nice piece indeed.

    gw

  3. Sean says:

    Candace will likely be drafted by the LA Sparks and she is definately hot enough to be a star in LA. As a resident of the LA area, I for one am ecstatic that she will be coming to our town. I think I will make it to some Sparks games next year.

  4. GLyon says:

    I love her, and La sparks would be perfect but they sould play near Tennesee so i can see her.

    go girl

  5. Larresha says:

    I love candace parker so much and i believed she is going to be 1st draft pick and she’s going to chicago sky i love u so much go gurl ~ make dat money~ &hearts love u &hearts

  6. mo says:

    candace parker is hella sexy

  7. Jeff says:

    I agree…she is fall down beautiful. Is she pigeon-toed, or did the photo just catch her in a funny position? Also, congrats to UT on the big win!

  8. jeskia says:

    i love u gurl u are da best boo

  9. DEONDRE says:

    CANDACE MY BABY

  10. DEONDRE says:

    CANDACE MY WIFE

  11. megan says:

    Candice your an amazing basketball player i have watched almost all of your games and if i missed is cause i had practice! Congrat6s on the win at UT that was pretty amazing! that was such a tough game! no joke i look up to you as a basketball player and soo does all of my basketball team our coach graduated from UT coach Herb Horton! well good luck next season!!!! GOD BLESS YOU!!!!

  12. haireality says:

    Read my blog post about Candace at

    absurdtosublime.blogspot.com

  13. Finally a real reason to watch womens bball..Candace Parker is the hottest bitch to ever pick up a basketball…The WNBA knows what they are doing Marketing her..I’ll go watch her play the bench..everytime they put the camera on her she looks even better..I’ll do whatever she told me to do to her..whatever

  14. April says:

    hy grl u is my favorte basketball player i am robin porter sister from mississippi state i just wanted to let u kno dat i amire u and want to ball just like u

  15. Oshea says:

    Candace will you marry me ?

  16. fermanda says:

    Hey!!candas parker i love you,you are my #1 womens basket ball player well my #1 basket ball player period i would like to be like you one day…I kind of look like you and im goin to be tall like you, im 11 and 5’6″ alredy…im goin to be at least six feet win i grow up and i hope i make it to be like you…i make rael good grades all A’s and if i get all a’s or all a’s and b’s or all b’s all through high school it will get me a check from the state for college… i realy want to be like you candace parker…1008 avenue k west piont georgia 31833could you please send me a letter back if you time…

  17. KIARA HOWSE says:

    Candace is my idol i glad tat im not the only tall women dang im suprised u found a man taller than u

  18. Erin says:

    I love seeing you play bball Candice. :) words can’t explain how much i love bball and you make me love it even more. :) Keep it up . U go gurl.

    Erin

  19. Spectator says:

    Wow, that WNBA brawl was something else. It proves that top caliber players like Candace can play with such intensity and passion.

  20. Sarah Porter says:

    OMG Canace is like mah most fav. player ever i wanna meet her sooo bad…. shes the person i look up to hopefully i get to meet her hopefully we r on the same team DONT RETIER wait for me…lol it wud be nice to play with mah hero

  21. Amin yasin says:

    candace parker is very beuty and exciting girls ,i love she very very mutch , and please any one who know candase mail plesse send it to me on ( mn_altmimi@yahoo.com ) thanks for all

  22. [...] Is Candace Sweet (or Hot) Enough? | Ballers, Gamers and ScoundrelsFeb 21, 2008 … You probably didn’t hear them, but a lot of people screamed “Hallelujah” today when Candace Parker, one of the best basketball player on the … [...]

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