In a recent episode of “The Draymond Green Show,” two-time WNBA champion, two-time WNBA MVP, seven-time All-Star, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, seven-time All-WNBA First Team (and honestly there’s more but we don’t want to lose you here), Candace Parker, joined the NBA Golden State power forward to discuss a wide range of topics related to basketball. As the first woman to appear on the show, Candace talked about her impressive career, challenges she faced as a mother (to Lailaa and Airr) and athlete, and her views on the WNBA and its perception.
The duo’s conversation touches on who she considers to be the greatest female basketball player of all time, Candace’s upbringing in Naperville, Illinois during Michael Jordan’s era, and her decision to attend the University of Tennessee.
“I wanted to be a big fish in a big pond. I didn’t want to duck pressure you know. I wanted to win a championship and be one of the best!” she explains.
However, the most intriguing part of the conversation is Candace’s perspective on how the WNBA can better market and improve itself. From expanding to new cities and increasing visibility, to embracing the league’s uniqueness and capitalizing on its differences from the NBA, her ideas are clutch. Also, spoiler alert: she wants to get paid before she enjoys chartered flights! Watch here or check out the summary below to learn more:
Candace begins by sharing her thoughts on the greatest female basketball player of all time, bringing up Cheryl Miller. Candace’s passion for basketball stems from her upbringing in Chicago during Michael Jordan’s era, which heavily influenced her love for the game. They also discuss the mental side of the game, with Draymond elaborating, “The NBA is competing. Like I don’t think people understand that’s a skill. Tom Izzo really taught me how to compete at a high level.”
As a mother and professional basketball player, Candace speaks about the challenges of balancing both and the sacrifices she had to make in her lifestyle. Despite those difficulties, Candace remained focused on her goal of winning a championship and advised players to stay focused and not be swayed by external pressures. She also reveals her admiration for players like Damian Lillard and James Harden, who have had successful careers but have not won championships.
Draymond and Candace then discuss the marketing and perception of the WNBA, stressing the importance of telling the stories of WNBA players to increase visibility and attract more fans. Candace suggests that sharing the unique and interesting stories of the players would help fans connect with them on a personal level. She also emphasizes the need for players to use social media to promote the league and connect with fans, saying, “I think that the more that we tell the stories of WNBA players and show our personalities, the more people are going to be able to connect with us on a personal level, and I think that’s huge for the growth of our league.”
Candace also proposed expanding the WNBA to more cities, having games in different locations, and exploring partnerships with networks to increase visibility. She argues that the WNBA should embrace its uniqueness and not shy away from being different from the NBA. Candace believes that the league has its brand and style of basketball, which should be celebrated and marketed differently from the NBA. “I think there’s a unique style of play that comes with the WNBA. It’s not just the size difference or anything like that, but the actual style of play, the teamwork that goes into it, the ball movement that goes into it.” she said.
“I think that the WNBA should not try to emulate the NBA. We’re two separate leagues, and the way that we market our game should be different.” Candace explains. Draymond and Candace agree that comparing the WNBA to the NBA is not a fair comparison and that the league should focus on investing in the product and being willing to lose money initially to grow the league. Candace gives credit to Mark Davis for investing in the product and says she has the utmost respect for him. She also discusses the issue of chartering and how players need to make more money before chartering can become a reality.
Candace also shares her perspective on proposed changes to make women’s basketball more entertaining, such as lowering the rim. She strongly disagrees with the suggestion, stating that it would not be necessary and would be an insult to women players. “I don’t think we need to change the game to make it more entertaining. I think the game is already entertaining. It’s just about getting people to actually watch it.” she points out. Candace stresses the importance of preserving the identity of women’s basketball and not changing it too much, highlighting that dunking should not be the identity of women’s basketball, just as three-point shooting is not the identity of the men’s game.