Candace Parker Transcends the ‘Female Jordan’ Label

Published on October 18th, 2010

By Ben York / @bjyork

The female Michael Jordan.

She’s heard it before. It’s a title that comes with great responsibility, pressure, and to a certain extent, stress (though she never shows it). That superlative label isn’t bestowed on individuals liberally; you have to earn it. Being compared, in any capacity, to the G.O.A.T. is both an honor and privilege.

However, in some way, that comparison isn’t necessarily a fair one for Parker. Sure, like Jordan, the things she does on a basketball court have that same awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping feel. But what if I told you that Candace Parker could become more important to women’s basketball than Michael Jordan was to men’s basketball?

Believe it.

When anyone brings up the topic of mainstream women ballers, there are a select few names that are immediately talked about. Obviously, CP3 is on that list. Still, her significance to the growth and respect of women’s basketball goes deeper than the game itself.

It’s been said that Parker will eventually be a household name in the same vein that Michael Jordan was, but that it won’t come from being a basketball player. That notion couldn’t be further from the truth. The way Parker plays the game demands reverence and adoration from any gender, any race, and any ability level. She does things with the basketball the women’s game hasn’t seen before; handles the ball with the touch of a point guard, goes after rebounds harder than anyone in the game, and scores the ball in virtually any capacity imaginable – and we haven’t even gotten to the intangibles of leadership, accountability, and the way she makes everyone around her better.

Just like they said about Jordan, Parker is one of the few basketball players in the world (male or female) with seemingly no weaknesses.

In a sport that has received its share (and more) of criticism, Parker makes anyone want to watch. Whether you’re a casual fan, a die-hard, or not even remotely interested in women’s basketball Parker draws you in. Similar to those who only watch the NBA when Lebron or Kobe is playing, Parker has the same appeal and star-power that other basketball legends have possessed.

But what separates Parker from other WNBA stars is the example she sets as a woman and mother. Clearly, her daughter Lailaa is her No.1 priority in life and its something she prides herself on. Having a baby in her 2nd professional season in the WNBA provided fans a different, and perhaps more important, look into her life. She personified the successful, working mother in a way we haven’t seen before – and has done so beautifully. The importance of what she has done so early in her career, both personally and professionally, cannot be overstated.

In a world where so many of our professional athlete’s have let us down, Parker continues to inspire. Her “brand” is simple, yet profound – success, role model, strength. The code she lives by isn’t manufactured or contrived; it comes naturally. Perhaps more importantly, she aligns herself with partners and organizations that have a positive impact in the community and specifically to women. She’s not a difficult person to like – she carries herself with a calm, positive energy that is infectious to anyone who has the pleasure of associating with her. When you think of Candace Parker, you think of success, positivity, kindness, and an indelible drive to win – what better example could young women have?

Here is the amazing part – she’s only been in the WNBA for three seasons. Imagine the possibilities of her impact in another 3-5 years. And this is just what we hear about; there is a plethora of uplifting things she does in the community that we don’t hear about because of her selfless nature.

Quite simply, Parker epitomizes the quintessential athlete/role model. She’s not just known in basketball circles or by fellow athletes. She’s a loving mother, a leader in the community, and a personification of where hard work and dedication can get you.

Parker’s transcendence of women’s basketball is nothing short of extraordinaryâEUR¦and it’s only just begun.

Ben York has covered the NBA/WNBA for over 5 years. He is currently a writer for SLAM Magazine and SLAMonline, has previously written for Dime Magazine, and is a guest contributor at WNBA.com. He can be reached on Twitter @bjyork and via email at bjyork15[at]gmail.com.

15 comments on “Candace Parker Transcends the ‘Female Jordan’ Label

  1. thats my dog! get em CP! 🙂

  2. I enjoyed this read. And must say, I have to agree with what’s been stated here. One good thing that professional sports provides an athlete, is a platform. Its how said individual uses that platform that can move him/her forward to brand new levels and heights. I’ve been a fan of Candace since her freshman year at UT. And watching her as a pro and an Olympian, she comes across as an extremely genuine and well-rounded person.

    I definitely am all for not calling her the female Jordan. In terms of her marketing reach as a female athlete, okay. But I couldn’t agree more, if she’s willing, she definitely could end up meaning more to the women’s game than his Airness did to the men’s.

    More power to her.

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  4. ashanti on said:

    I love this aritcle about you Candace, it describes you great and tells about you very good, I really like this one and everything that was said is so true and im so proud of you, you inspire and encourage me in every way, and you are my role model and idol I look up to you in just about everything, I Love You Candace, :)!

  5. Melissabarbone on said:

    girl!!! i want to be just like i her i am only 15 and i go to a veryy veryy small school called tallulah falls in north georgia!!! and i am a freshman but looking at her i believe that anything can happen… who knows maybe one day i can be just like her.. only with GOD. you go girl keep ur thing going.. u are a role model in my eyes!!! thanks for everything.

  6. nanoJms on said:

    great article, Ben, as always. Your insight & portrayal is always spot-on. Keep up the great writing.

  7. Courtneyford on said:

    I am Candace Parker biggest fan !!

  8. Courtneyford92 on said:

    I love to watch Candace and I want to follow her every footstep. I believe that I can be the next Candace if i only believe and trust in the Lord . I want to thank you Candace for being a good role model.

  9. Kaelabear1995 on said:

    candace youa are just the cutest thing!!!!!(:

  10. i love candace parker play ball. keep up the good work!!!!!

  11. domo dha boss bytxh on said:

    candace parker is deff dha nicest female ball player…she a great role model and iDont even know her…basketballs the only thing to keep me out of trouble and she inspires me to neva put down a ball…iLove her fa dat nd iDont even know her…thanx candace…iWish yuhh luxk nd the rest ov your games and to your family nd friends…

  12. Pingback: SLAM ONLINE | » Top 20: Candace Parker, no. 5

  13. Diana Taurasi is the female Michael Jordan. Candace Parker is the Lebron James of the WNBA: physically gifted but overrated and ringless.

  14. Neikaboox3 on said:

    i Love Kandace parker ima stick to playing basketball so 1 day i could eventually become like her

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