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"I knew my decision," she says, again referencing her pregnancy, the inconvenient timing never far from her mind. There are no rules to follow, no well-worn path to tread. She isn't making Le Bron money, but she is drawing those sorts of contracts.Parker admits that she was worried about sharing the news with her sponsors and team, worried about letting them down. There is just you, hacking through the brush, forging ahead. And it is only the first year of her pro career."The hope is, where Parker goes, other women will follow.True enough, but they also don't lose precious game time and visibility or spark Internet blog wars about the definition of feminism. "We need her on the floor." Cooper knows full well what his team will be missing. George signed Sheryl Swoopes in 1994, before there was a pro league, and he remembers all the questions about whether it was a sound business decision. "But what made Sheryl sing for us was she won the gold medal in Atlanta." Then Swoopes got pregnant, and George ran with the news.
Parker knows in the end that everything will be just fine, as it always has been. But Candace is in a sport people don't pay much attention to. It's a vicious circle."When you are the first, there is no measure. It is your face in the little box, the representation of a complete concept, the manifestation of an idea. "She's opening up doors a female player hasn't been through before.Parker won't be satisfied until she is a household name. In January, Parker revealed that she is pregnant with her first child. And not just from a basketball standpoint."Mc Donald's agrees."I wouldn't mind being the female MJ," she concedes. Parker's goal is to be not just the best but the most well-known, a touchstone on the cultural landscape. It was a shock to her, her sponsors and her WNBA team, the Los Angeles Sparks. Of course, Shel [husband and Timberwolves big man Shelden Williams] and I joke that we can't send this one home."Getting pregnant was definitely not part of the Team Parker plan. So what if the WNBA was counting on her to reinvigorate, if not rescue, the enterprise? An ad for the chain (with Dwight Howard) has her fist-bumping and grinning as she holds a bag of golden-arched goodness.She will be a bigger Mia Hamm, a more accomplished Danica Patrick. "She was in our 'Me, Myself' campaign," he says of the all-us-girls-are-in-this-together promotion. She has global reach." Gatto says Adidas has been tracking Parker her whole career.
Patrick is nowhere near the best in her field, but she doesn't need to be, because she is hot enough to pose for Maxim. She wants to be a champion, too, like Maria Sharapova, who earns upward of million a year -- the most of any female athlete -- of which only a small fraction comes from playing tennis. "She always fit the brand values: authentic, inspirational.
Home attendance was up 10% for the season, and road crowds were three times bigger for the Sparks than for other WNBA teams.