Do you think women's basketball is catching on with the masses? James Fields SAN BERNARDINO, CALIF.
I think it is catching on. It's the fastest-growing sport in America. I think a lot of guys are learning to respect our game as well. Our women's Olympic team is going for its fifth gold medal in 2012.
Top Flight Player
Candace Parker, 23, is the WNBA's most recent Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player. Playing for the Los Angeles Sparks, she is the first athlete to win both these titles in the same season.
When do you think the salaries of female basketball players will begin to approach the salaries of male players? Anne Kenefic JAMESTOWN, N.Y.
I look at it this way: the WNBA is 13 years young. I think eventually women will get to that point, maybe in my daughter's generation, where their salaries will be similar to men's. But we're still starting off, like, where the NBA was back in the 1950s.
More than six feet tall by the time she reached seventh grade, Parker wowed the sports world when she won the slam-dunk contest at the McDonald's High School All-American Game, beating out five male competitors including future pros J. R. Smith of the Denver Nuggets and Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks.
Do you think they should create coed-league sports on a professional level? Luke Denker, BELTON, MO.
I don't think it's necessary. I think it's neat that women play our game. Obviously, the strength of men--I really don't feel like we could play in a professional league with them. I think it's great that young girls have the WNBA to look up to now.
Colleges across America tried to lure Parker with scholarships, but she chose the top-tier University of Tennessee, under legendary coach Pat Summitt. Debuting for the Lady Vols during the 2005-06 season, the versatile Parker played forward, guard and center.
How are you doing with your new daughter? Has your coach at Tennessee, Pat Summitt, started recruiting her yet? Brenda Goodman JOHNSON CITY, TENN.
When I first told Coach Summitt that I was pregnant, she was like, Where can we send the papers? I had to remind her that my husband [Minnesota Timberwolves forward Shelden Williams] went to Duke, so he's pushing for her to go there. But I'm doing great. My baby is the joy in my life. Obviously, I'm suffering from lack of sleep, but it truly is a blessing to be a mother.
During Parker's time in Tennessee, she guided the Lady Vols to two consecutive national college championships. In this photo, she cuts down the net after her team's victory over Mississippi in the 2007 regional final.
How hard is it coming back to the WNBA after a pregnancy? Emily Johnston MARYVILLE, TENN.
My teammates have done it. Tina Thompson came back the same season she delivered her son. Lisa Leslie waited a year. They're still at the top of their game. I don't think it's going to be easy, by any means, but I think it's possible to come back better than I was. I understand my body a lot more. I focus a lot more on stretching and taking care of myself.
In an unusual move, Parker left in her junior season to play in the WNBA. The Los Angeles Sparks made her their number-one pick in the draft.
How do you feel you have impacted women's sports, and what do you believe is your responsibility to young women coming up in sports? Hernan Gonzalez ORLANDO, FLA.
I don't know if I've necessarily done it, but my goal is to allow girls the same opportunities that I had. I was literally in the first generation that could look up to female athletes as role models. I was a humongous Mia Hamm fan. I wanted to be a soccer player until I was in the eighth grade. She was my role model. That's what I hope to be.
Parker's outstanding play not only earned her awards, but made her a huge fan favorite. Her jersey is one of the WNBA's top sellers and she holds lucrative endorsement deals with Adidas and Gatorade.
My 10-year-old daughter Hannah has aspirations of playing college ball. What is your advice for her? Rob Swiger, GALAX, VA.
Go out there and play against guys. That's what I did growing up. I have two older brothers who beat me up and made me tough, and I love them for it. I would always play against them because they were bigger and faster and stronger, and it makes you tougher.
Would you ever sign to play in the NBA? Warren Spencer MANTECA, CALIF.
In 2008, Parker traveled to China as part of the U.S. women's basketball team in the Summer Olympics. Team USA breezed past Australia in the final round giving the U.S. women their fourth straight gold medal and Parker's first.
Growing up playing basketball, did you ever have to deal with negative or sexist comments? Minnesa Khan, JAMAICA, N.Y.
I never really had to. When I would go to the park, maybe initially they would be like, She's a girl, she can't play. But then the next time, they were picking me first for their team. Let your actions speak for themselves. Don't worry about what everybody else is saying. Just concentrate on playing basketball and embrace being a woman and being in sports.
As if That Wasn't Enough
Named one of People magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People in 2007, Parker returns to the Sparks this season after having her first child with husband and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Shelden Williams.
Do you ever play your husband one on one? Dan Sutin, TORONTO
Shelden and I don't play because we are so competitive, we would probably hurt each other.
10 Questions For Candace Parker
Posted September 16, 2009 - 11:20 PM
Posted September 16, 2009 - 11:21 PM
Posted September 16, 2009 - 11:41 PM
Posted September 17, 2009 - 12:17 AM
Dear Candace. Shelden Williams???! Are you insane?!
<a href="http://it-it.faceboo...otto/710153981" target="_blank">FACEBOOK</a>
<a href="http://twitter.com/_Weps" target="_blank">TWITTER</a>
<a href="http://wepson.deviantart.com/" target="_blank">DEVIANTART</a>
<a href="http://www.lakerslan...d.it/index.php" target="_blank">LAKERSLAND.IT - ITALIAN LAKERS COMMUNITY -</a>
<img src="http://img196.images...22/banner9.jpg" border="0" class="linked-sig-image" />
Posted September 17, 2009 - 12:21 AM
Posted September 24, 2009 - 10:41 AM
I too am stumped. Maybe Sheldon's got a big...heart?
I've got one more question for her.
Dear Candace. Shelden Williams???! Are you insane?!
He looks like he let out a big one.
Kevin Durant and Candace Parker look better as a couple don't you think?
Edited by Hero, September 24, 2009 - 10:45 AM.
RIP Dad. I miss you so very much...
July 27, 2011 4:00 AM.
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