I recently interviewed Candace Parker for an upcoming edition of "In My Own Words" on FSN. It was my first time ever meeting her. I didn't really know what to expect, but she surpassed all of my expectations.
I found her intelligent, engaging, funny and sincere. She spoke of herself with equal parts confidence and humility. She knows she's one of the best female basketball players in the world, but she doesn't think she's better than any one person. Having met her charming mother, it's easy to understand where those traits originate.
Both the Sparks and the WNBA are expecting great things from this 3-time All-American and 2-time NCAA champion. And for good reason. She may be the best pure talent to ever enter the league. Pat Summit, her former coach at Tennessee, believes that Parker can become the best player the women's game has ever seen. And if you know anything about Summit, you know that she doesn't exactly throw around such praise loosely.
In this day and age, however, you need more than just talent and success alone to elevate a marginal sport into the mainstream. You need Madison Avenue appeal. Something Parker seems to have been born with. She's as beautiful as she is skilled. She can make your heart flutter with a smile or a slam dunk. She can grace the cover of People Magazine or Sports Illustrated. Basically, she's got game on and off the court.
Parker's got so much game, in fact, I'm actually looking forward to the WNBA season opening. You only get so many chances to see legends of the game make their debut.