FanDuel - WFBC

June 23, 2008

Candace Parker Dunks As Sparks Top Fever: ESPN.COM:Candace Parker had dunked in college, and she finally broke out the big move in the WNBA. The Sparks' star slammed one home with 33 seconds left in Los Angeles' 77-63 win over Indiana on Sunday. I love to watch this sport, but unfortunately we will have to see alot more of this if the WNBA is to survive.

posted by bo_fan to basketball at 02:28 PM - 32 comments

If they market her properly, Candace Parker could raise the profile of the entire sport, not just her team or the league. She's a fuckin' rock star. She's got the skills, the charisma and the desire. And she's a rookie. She could Tiger-Woods women's basketball. If (big if, but if) they market her properly.

posted by chicobangs at 03:52 PM on June 23

2nd dunk in the WNBA's history? Is that really true? I've never paid attention to the WNBA but I would've guessed at least one a game or so.

posted by aerotive at 05:11 PM on June 23

Every team has one or two people who can do it in warmups, but it's still a relatively new concept. Inside of five years, it'll be a once-a-week thing. The women's game is still evolving fairly quickly.

posted by chicobangs at 06:01 PM on June 23

we will have to see alot more of this if the WNBA is to survive I remain surprised that they have survived more than 10 years. I have never understood the concept of watching a group of lesser talented athletes participate in a sport that another group of athletes can do so much better. I have much the same view with regard to minor league baseball on TV. I can understand the local interest for attending games, but why show it on TV when you can watch a major league game at the same time. That's probably how the WNBA has survived. They play it so it is not in competition with any other basketball. I know it will come off as sexist and show my age, but I remember a conversation regarding the Dallas Diamonds back in the mid 80s and whether women's basketball could draw enough interest to survive. The consensus was only if they learned to play in high heels and mini skirts, because they could not really compete with the male game. They lasted one year.

posted by graymatters at 07:48 PM on June 23

I'm with you on this one, graymatters. The real reason the WNBA has survived, though, is the financial backing from the NBA. The WNBA does illustrate two great things about this country, though: 1) That at least one group of women is allowed to pursue professional athletic careers in a team sport, and 2) As a fan, watching them is still completely optional. I guess I don't find the fact that two women have now done what at least one or two guys on every high school boys' team is able to do to be particularly compelling. Wake me when one of them does a 360 Tomahawk jam. (I don't mean to be a hater or a troll here...I know some of you are thinking "If you find it boring, then just ignore it and post on something you like." I only voice this opinion because I suspect I'm in the majority here.)

posted by TheQatarian at 10:17 PM on June 23

I have never understood the concept of watching a group of lesser talented athletes participate in a sport that another group of athletes can do so much better. All college sports are out then.

posted by bperk at 10:23 PM on June 23

...as are the minors in any sport, or even any sub-.500 team. Really, tune out until the Olympic Gold Medal game in the sport of your choice. It really frees up your year, and everything else is crap anyways. Also, better how? Sure, if you want dunking and run-through-the-other-team showboating, no one tops the Lebrons and Kobes of the world, but when it comes to strategy and fundamentals, the women's game isn't all that far from the top, frankly.

posted by chicobangs at 11:55 PM on June 23

God, I hope you two never have kids that want to play sports. "I'm sorry son, I won't be making it to your peewee football game today, or any day. The NFL Network is showing reruns of The Superbowl every Saturday this fall. I just don't see the point in watching you play when I can see professional athletes do it so much better than you probably ever will."

posted by apoch at 02:36 AM on June 24

To clarify, I was agreeing with graymatters that I'm surprised the WNBA has survived this long, not with the "Why watch lesser-talented athletes?" argument.

posted by TheQatarian at 06:37 AM on June 24

graymatters: I have never understood the concept of watching a group of lesser talented athletes participate in a sport that another group of athletes can do so much better. I have much the same view with regard to minor league baseball on TV. You're talking about two different things, watching a sport and televising a sport. To address the first, speaking for myself, I don't understand why you feel you're getting the best spectator experience by only watching "the best" athletes. Even if you can arrive at a reasonable determination of who "the best" are (which, frequently, you can't), "the best" often don't put on the best performance. What's "the best" in a basketball game, anyway -- the highest score? Two points is two points, whether it came from above the rim or down in the paint. If gymnastics is what you want, maybe that's what you should be watching. But, just as I can accept that you would rather see your gymnastics on a basketball court, you should be able to see that your "best" viewing experience isn't necessarily anybody else's. As far as televising, not sure where you're going with this, except that you're projecting your tastes onto others. Viewership doesn't work quite like that. Oh, sure, there are always a ton of bandwagon-jumpers who come out of the woodwork at the scent of a championship, but I think most people who genuinely enjoy watching sports are attracted to something more than always watching "the best". The college world series has been on the past week or so, and getting plenty of viewing, I believe -- despite their not being "the best".

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:13 AM on June 24

Also, we have this discussion in every single fucking WNBA thread. It's a variation on the "Who gives a shit about this sport" argument, and frankly it pisses me off.

posted by chicobangs at 09:27 AM on June 24

Not to be the bearer of bad news but it is true that the WNBA doesn't even come close to having the same average of television veiwers as in the NBA. That's not a man vs woman thing, it's the truth but it is a shame. I have seen the WNBA play out here in the United States and I can tell you that it doesn't get the same recognition as it does in Europe, which is why before the WNBA was created, women basketball players played overseas. I personally always liked watching women's college b-ball over the WNBA except now that they drafted more talent and I don't just mean Candace Parker, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi or any of the recent acquisitions from a few years ago. I can still remember my favorite WNBA player, Rebecca Lobo along with Teresa Weatherspoon play for the New York Liberty back in '97 when the WNBA was first introduced to us. So for people to pretty much imply, "Who gives a shit about this sport?", I have to be honest with you, you're not alone but you're sure missing out. The consensus was only if they learned to play in high heels and mini skirts, because they could not really compete with the male game. Sorry but that's just sad.

posted by BornIcon at 09:55 AM on June 24

I know the hate has been more directed at graymatters than me, but my primary point, which was quite specific to this thread, was, "Why are we making such a big deal about a woman being able to dunk?" It just doesn't seem that significant to me is all. Hyping it to the level it has been hyped almost diminishes the female athletes more than it helps.

posted by TheQatarian at 10:56 AM on June 24

I have always been suprised that dunks don't happen more often. It is clear that at least some of the players can do it, and in my opinion brings more excitement to the game.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 12:12 PM on June 24

BornIcon: Not to be the bearer of bad news but it is true that the WNBA doesn't even come close to having the same average of television veiwers as in the NBA. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The NBA wasn't always what it is, and popularity isn't always (or even usually) the result of the masses' realization of some thing's inherent superiority. How did the NBA get to where it is now? Marketing, pure and simple. That level of marketing has simply not been present with the WNBA -- not a fraction of it. TheQatarian: I know the hate has been more directed at graymatters than me, but my primary point, which was quite specific to this thread, was, "Why are we making such a big deal about a woman being able to dunk?" It just doesn't seem that significant to me is all. Hyping it to the level it has been hyped almost diminishes the female athletes more than it helps. Well, "hate" is overstating the case, but aside from that...it's being made into a big deal, not by us and not here, because the ability to dunk has been used by some to support their view that women's basketball is inferior. Sooo...you get this misguided attention brought by some supporters, saying "Look we/they can so dunk!" which, as you pointed out, serves only to further validate dunking as a valid standard for judging the worth of the game.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:15 PM on June 24

I have always been suprised that dunks don't happen more often. It is clear that at least some of the players can do it, and in my opinion brings more excitement to the game. I think I know why: it's not a reliable shot, even for Parker, and any sensible coach would kill them for trying it in most situations. Parker had a wide open basket, the risk was low...she took the shot. Even in that situation, I'm curious as to what her coach's reaction was (maybe not unqualified approval).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:17 PM on June 24

I know the hate has been more directed at graymatters than me, but my primary point, which was quite specific to this thread, was, "Why are we making such a big deal about a woman being able to dunk?" It just doesn't seem that significant to me is all. Hyping it to the level it has been hyped almost diminishes the female athletes more than it helps. No doubt. I agree with your point TQ but the one thing I have to disagee with is: There is no hate towards graymatters. I cannot and will not speak for other people, as everyone is entitled to believe whatever they want but the thing is, when it comes to the opposite sex and sports, if you make it a point to show your displeasure for that sport, you are looked upon as being in the sexist and/or old-fashioned, IMHO. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? NBA wasn't always what it is, and popularity isn't always (or even usually) the result of the masses' realization of some thing's inherent superiority LBB, you are certainly entitled to your opinion but the fact is, it didn't take the NBA over 10 years to get over with the fans. When the NBA first established rules for national and local television rights, which sets the stage for regional sports networks in 1979, they were still having more viewers watching the NBA than the WNBA has today. You may disagree but because the players from the WNBA cannot do what the players from the NBA can do, they are looked upon as the B league. They are not as quick or as strong as the NBA players and that is a fact. Like I said before, I am a fan of the WNBA but have no problem looking at the league and recognize that the WNBA will never be in the same category as the NBA, even though they play the same sport. You're right that marketing helped the NBA become the global sport that it has become but the WNBA will never be on the same level as the NBA as long as it's played on American soil. This is a business and needs to be looked at that way and if the product isn't generating the same buzz that can take it to that next level, then the owners will lose out on revenue which in turn, pushes the league to the back burner which is why the publicity on Candace Parker's dunk actually helps the entire WNBA and not just her. It's very similar to when the XFL tried to take on the NFL, same sport but because there's already a fan base for the one, the other will suffer unless there's something special about it that makes people want to watch.

posted by BornIcon at 01:37 PM on June 24

I didn't mean "hate" quite as seriously as it is being taken. If I had said the word instead of typed it, it would have made more sense. Or as they said on "Cheers"... Coach: "Sometimes I think of the smartest thing in the world to say, and then when I say it, it comes out stupid." Carla: "That doesn’t make any sense." Coach: "You should have heard it before I said it."

posted by TheQatarian at 01:47 PM on June 24

LBB, you are certainly entitled to your opinion but the fact is, it didn't take the NBA over 10 years to get over with the fans. You're quite right; I believe it was closer to 30.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:39 PM on June 24

if you make it a point to show your displeasure for that sport, you are looked upon as being in the sexist and/or old-fashioned I expected it when I said it, but it does not change my mind about women's basketball. There are other sports in which women participate and I think that their game is as good or sometimes even better than the men's game (softball, tennis, golf, volleyball, swimming, track and field, gymnastics, skating, etc.). And I periodically watch all of these when women are the players. But, in my opinion, women's basketball remains a curiosity. Maybe in another 20 years (since lbb indicates it took the NBA 30 years to catch on) my opinion will change, if the league lasts that long.

posted by graymatters at 04:18 PM on June 24

it didn't take the NBA over 10 years to get over with the fans. When the NBA first established rules for national and local television rights, which sets the stage for regional sports networks in 1979 That was 33 years after the league was founded. "The league was founded in New York City, on June 6, 1946 as the Basketball Association of America (BAA)."

posted by yerfatma at 06:52 PM on June 24

I expected it when I said it, but it does not change my mind about women's basketball. I don't think anyone's trying to change your mind. I think instead that some of us are commenting that your mind works in odd ways for a sports fan (no offense intended).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:54 PM on June 24

For what it's worth, she dunked again last night. Part of this discussion might become moot a lot sooner than expected.

posted by chicobangs at 07:08 AM on June 25

You're quite right; I believe it was closer to 30. That's not entirely correct, check this out.

posted by BornIcon at 07:12 AM on June 25

A link to some site about the '50s that says Wilt Chamberlain "helped to bring a larger audience to some NBA games" proves what? No league takes off overnight. I'm not a big WNBA fan, but to say it's a bust because they're not selling out 30 cities after 10 years is a high bar to clear.

posted by yerfatma at 07:19 AM on June 25

Who said anything about the WNBA being a bust? Again, and it seems as if I'm wasting my breath saying this but I am a fan of the WNBA and there's some players that I love to watch play the game just like there's some players in the NBA who I love to watch as well but if anyone thinks that the WNBA will be on the same level as the NBA, viewership-wise, then you're just kidding yourself. The average fan of basketball (with the majority being male) would rather wait for the actual NBA season to begin than watch the WNBA and IMO, they're missing out on a great sport in the WNBA. My point with the link about the NBA in the 50's was to point out that it wasn't exactly 30 years that it took for the masses to come watch the game of basketball. It took an extraordinary player like the Big Dipper to make the sport more popular just like maybe a player like Candace Parker can bring more attention to the WNBA but we can only wait and see.

posted by BornIcon at 08:40 AM on June 25

The average fan of basketball (with the majority being male) would rather wait for the actual NBA season to begin than watch the WNBA and IMO, they're missing out on a great sport in the WNBA. You're probably right, but what creates that preference? Do you know? I'd say that that it's a combination of factors, and as a fan you'd probably agree with me that quite a few of those factors have little or nothing to do with the quality of the game (assuming you could find some kind of sensible metric for that). You'd also probably agree with me that this preference isn't some kind of deep-seated conviction, and that it is subject to change: we're not talking about changing Catholics so that they prefer Buddhism. I believe that the current popularity of the NBA is largely the result of a marketing juggernaut -- not to take anything away from the inherent funness-to-watch of the games, but there's an awful lot of good stuff out there, just as inherently fun to watch, that the American sports viewing public isn't watching in anywhere near those numbers (think cycling, tennis, soccer). Those things just haven't been marketed the way the NBA has been.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:51 AM on June 25

I totally agree with you LBB. I do believe that marketing has to do with the NBA being so popular but the WNBA has been marketing the sport a helluva lot better this year with the commercials that's been in circulation. I do hope that the WNBA eventually gets the same respect that the NBA gets since they play just as hard and most of the players actually play more as a team than some players in the NBA. Since the NBA are backing the WNBA, I don't understand why their marketing team don't have more out there to help make the WNBA a bit more popular as they have done with the NBA thru-out the years. IMHO, I think it was actually pretty easy to do so when they had a players like Magic, Bird, Jordan and now Garnett, Kobe and LeBron dominating the NBA so if they market some of the great players in the WNBA, maybe that could help.

posted by BornIcon at 10:24 AM on June 25

As a tax professional, I can tell you that the WNBA is just a tax writeoff for the NBA. They just chalk it up as a business expense to lower their taxable income.

posted by docshredder at 07:35 PM on June 26

You're privy to their books, are you, docshredder?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:16 AM on June 27

Congratulations to Candace for dunking an open attempt. The fact of the matter is that most of the top 100 High School Boys team could crush any WNBA team. Not even close. I am not bashing womens sports, I think some are great competitions and most are good for society and all the participants in general. However to equate it with great accomplishments in sports history is ridiculous. I could find a twelve year old boy who could dunk a basketball in less than an hour. I probably could never find a man that could pull off a double back handspring and back flip on a balance beam like female gymnasts can do. But if I did, would it make a great news story? Very doubtful.

posted by MMAFighter/Coach at 12:11 AM on June 28

You'll never know, "MMAFighter/Coach", but why the obvious need to disparage? Why the need to put the uppity women in their place?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:30 AM on June 29

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.