Retired WNBA legend Candace Parker named president of Adidas women’s basketball

Candace Parker retied last week after 16 seasons in the WNBA, 13 of them with the Los Angeles Sparks. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File)

A little over a week after announcing her retirement from the WNBA, Candace Parker is moving into a new role as president of Adidas women’s basketball.

According to Adidas, Parker will “collaborate with the brand to create a powerful platform aimed at influencing and elevating the future of women’s sports. She will drive innovative strategies and empowering initiatives to push the game further while inspiring the next generation of hoopers to dream bigger and reach higher under her guidance.

“Parker’s role will also involve overseeing the adidas Women’s Basketball product line, and spearheading further development of the brand’s storied women’s roster—which boasts all-stars like Aliyah Boston, Erica Wheeler, Sophie Cunningham, and Kahleah Copper, to name a few.”

As Parker told Fast Company’s AJ Hess, once she knew she was going to stop playing she felt like she could be an asset to Adidas, a brand she has worn since high school.

“The brand and I have grown together, and we’ve done some amazing things,” Parker said. “I’m excited about what the future holds on this side of things, because I’m so passionate about growing the game of basketball.”

In her new role, Parker, who in 2010 was the first woman to have a signature shoe with Adidas, will have a say in product development, branding and which athletes to target. She’ll also push the company to create products that put women first. Adidas is looking for her to help them “speak to the women’s basketball consumer,” said Eric Wise, the company’s head of global basketball business.

While the relationship between Parker and Adidas has spanned three decades, they did not begin speaking about her joining the business side until last February. Parker let it be known she wasn’t looking to be face of women’s basketball for the company.

“I said to [Adidas], ‘I don’t want to be a mascot,” Parker said. “I really want to be in the meetings, and I want to be a part of making decisions.'”

Parker played 16 seasons in the WNBA, 13 of them with the Los Angeles Sparks, who drafted her No. 1 overall in 2008 out of Tennessee.

She won three WNBA championships during her career, in addition to WNBA Finals MVP honors in 2016. Her list of awards is extensive, including two MVP awards, Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. She is the only WNBA player to win MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season (2008). Parker was also named to seven WNBA All-Star teams.

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