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"It just has not happened before for women," Goodwin says. Forget it."And yet Team Parker believes, in part because Candace is already delivering for the Sparks.
Especially African-American women, especially women who play team sports. LA's season ticket sales were its highest since 2005; twice as many were sold after draft day as before.
"I want to have major crossover appeal."Ah, yes, crossover, the marketing money shot, the ability to use God-given talent, in this case basketball, as a platform for international celebrity. She found out right before she was to venture overseas to play pro ball during the American off-season-a common practice for the best WNBA players. It will be exciting to have my child share my career and to remember what I was like when I was young." She falls quiet for a few long seconds. So what if Russia and, more important, a slew of U. advertisers were waiting to capitalize on her fresh face and unsullied history? "I didn't start to show until after my commercials were shot."The making of an icon is never easy. A hip male greets her with a simple "Candace," as if she were one of the guys, albeit with flat-ironed hair and pink lipstick.
It was rumored that her Russian club, UMMC Ekaterinburg, was going to pay in excess of a million dollars for four months' work-an uncommon amount for even the best WNBA players. In her Gatorade spot, she shares time with superstars Jimmie Johnson and Serena Williams, even though her own pro career isn't yet a year old."Everything is clean about her," says Aaron Goodwin, Parker's agent.
"You know, because I can't kill her." He laughs a small, hard laugh. He made sure that every time someone was looking for a famous mother for a campaign, she was on the short list. "For Swoopes and for Candace, there is not a very large market out there," he says. And she's pretty, which helps."Neal Pilson, a former head of CBS Sports, also sees trouble ahead for Team Parker.