Candace Parker is cutting a simple white dress and the better smile imaginable. She is cradling her belly, which carries her approaching child, as she poses for this awning of a annual aimed at readers who apprehend to see LeBron or Manny.
But on the awning of the affair of ESPN the Annual that will be on newsstands Friday it is Parker, the Sparks star, who will attending the client in the eye beside the headline, “How Big Can Candace Parker Get?”
“I’m appreciative of my child, aflame about my adolescent and I’m aflame about the befalling to accept a adolescent and be an athlete,” said Parker, 22, on Wednesday. She is home in Los Angeles now, acclimatized in to delay for this aboriginal adolescent for her and bedmate Shelden Williams, a advanced for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Parker’s pregnancy, appear in December, afraid many, including Sparks management, some of her teammates and the editor of ESPN’s magazine.
Gary Belsky, editor in chief, said the adventure had been planned and photos attempt aloof afore Parker’s abundance became accessible — or noticeable.
“We don’t do a lot of changeable athletes on the cover,” Belsky said. “Candace has fabricated it added interesting. She’s got Adidas, McDonald’s and Gatorade as sponsors; that’s a appealing able big three. But it’s still boxy to put a woman on the awning for us.
“But ESPN is accommodating in women’s sports ages in March, so we anticipation this would be a acceptable way. But back we begin out she was abundant we had to alarm and say, ‘We can’t run these pictures in March.’ “
So photo editor Catriona Ni Aolain reconceived the photo and batten to Parker. “She was a little nervous,” Ni Aolain said. “She capital to apperceive we wouldn’t accomplish fun of her in any way.”
Ni Aolain, who said she had her own babyish a few months ago, said her abstraction was to accomplish Parker attending “radiant and athletic.”
She put Parker in a white dress to accomplish the photo added dramatic, but until Ni Aolain looked at the photos she anticipation addition would about-face into the awning shot. “At aboriginal I anticipation we’d use one of her in her compatible or captivation a basketball. But I saw this one and it was the appropriate one.”
Parker isn’t the aboriginal changeable amateur to be on the cover. Tennis players Venus and Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, ashamed clue brilliant Marion Jones and snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler accept had the spot. But Parker is the aboriginal abundant amateur to be shown.
Belsky said the ambition admirers of the annual is the 18- to 34-year-old male.
“I’m afraid to see how those bodies respond,” Parker said.
“Response to my abundance from bodies in my amphitheater of WNBA admirers has been positive. I achievement the readers see the awning and again apprehend the story.”
Belsky said Allison Glock’s adventure focuses on the abeyant appulse Parker can accept from a business and sports standpoint.
Parker, whose adolescent is accepted in aboriginal May, said she has backward in acceptable appearance and is acquisitive to comedy this season. The Sparks comedy their aboriginal d June 6 adjoin Detroit.
“I’m great,” she said. “I’m alive out three or four times a week. The adamantine allotment about actuality an amateur is acquirements that back you feel annoyed you can’t advance yourself.”
In a move fabricated to bank up the calendar for about continued Parker is missing, today the Sparks are accepted to ascertain the signing of Tina Thompson, the WNBA’s additional best arch scorer. Thompson will be aing the best leader, Lisa Leslie, back she signs.
Like Leslie, Thompson starred at Inglewood Morningside High and again at USC. Leslie has already appear this will be her final able season. Thompson became an complete chargeless abettor afterwards her antecedent team, the Houston Comets, bankrupt in the off-season.
Times agents biographer Lisa Dillman contributed to this report.
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