Candace Parker saves her biggest show for off the court
While Sparks forward Candace Parker recounted her ongoing balancing act of being a working mom, she declared her everyday life would be entertaining enough to become a reality show.
It would be called "Three Dogs, a Husband and a Baby" -- "the reality show I live every day," Parker says, a title that sounds like a throwback to "Three Men and a Baby." Parker's night mostly involves her 3-and-a-half month daughter, Lailaa, sleeping on her chest while she watches reruns of "Roseanne," "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "Sister Sister." And with all that television viewing, Parker has an idea for a pilot.
Parker and her husband, Boston Celtics forward Shelden Williams, often walk their daughter and their three dogs, Fendi (4-year-old St. Bernard mix), Neno (16-year-old black pub) and Prada (1-year-old black roddy). And while it's typical for the dogs to run away during the walks, Parker didn't exactly expect the following to happen: "One time we were driving in the car and Prada just jumps out through the window," Parker recalled, laughing. "Meanwhile, Lailaa's socks fall off and my husband is asking me to do something. That's my life."
Not bad. Two other anecdotes reveal some other potential episodes.
During the Sparks' East Coast road trip from July 9-11, Williams called his former Duke teammate, Reggie Love, who currently serves as a personal aide to President Barack Obama. Williams and Parker wanted to see the president.
This wasn't a first-time visit. Parker, who played for Naperville (Ill.) Central High, had already met Obama at that time. But she obviously still wanted to give him full attention, even if it meant interrupting her feeding with Lailaa.
Said Parker: "When he walked into the office, I took the bottle out of her mouth and then stood up because it's the president."
Then Williams said, "she starts screaming. You don't scream at the president. But he laughed and said, 'I know how it is with two girls."
"I gave the bottle to her and she goes back to being happy," Parker said. "She's a funny little girl."
After Parker told Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt last winter she was pregnant, she congratulated her and then cut to the chase.
"Where can I send the papers?"
Those haven't arrived yet. But that doesn't mean Summitt hasn't taken the early steps to recruit Lailaa.
"I shipped her out every Lady Vol thing I could get my hands on," Summitt said. "Shelden is pulling hard for Duke, but no way. She's going to be a Lady Vol," she said referring to the Volunteers.
Somewhere the NCAA is digging up its rule book to see if any rules have been broken. Lailaa apparently has other prospects, too.
UCLA Coach Nikki Caldwell, who recruited Parker at Tennessee, thinks the gear alone won't be enough.
"We have the edge because she and I bond really well," Caldwell said. "Pat would have to fly out. I always talk to her and say, 'Hey, little Bruin.' "
The next step entails winning over the parents, with Williams deferring to Parker about Lailaa's college choice.
"She's going to Tennessee," Parker said. "I already determined that. The only thing we have from Duke is a blanket, and we use that for the floor."
So Lailaa will play basketball at Tennessee?
"I think she’d be a good tennis player," Parker said. "We’ll push that sport. My parents pushed basketball on me, not on me but I wanted to play soccer and then they were like, 'You'd be a better basketball player.' I fought it and fought it and then I fell in love with basketball. She’ll probably fall in love with basketball. She'll have more of a Venus Williams body type. Slender, long and athletic hopefully -- 6 [foot] 4, 6 [foot] 5. That would be a dominant tennis player."
Just imagine what the birthday gifts from Summitt and Caldwell will be.
-- Mark Medina
Photo: Candace Parker and her daughter, Lailaa Nicole Williams. Credit: Sara Parker.