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Repercussions of Candace Parker's pregnancy

January 8, 2009 |  1:30 pm

In November, Candace Parker was at ESPN headquarters to film a

Starting a family can be the most exciting thing in the world. It happens to women in every profession, and when it happens, there are all sorts of consequences. And if the pregnant woman has a job, the consequences can extend past the soon-to-be enlarged family. Who picks up the work you do? Will a colleague be asked to do more? Will a temp be hired?

When the pregnant woman is Candace Parker -- the best player in a league that is still, 12 years in, searching for a better position in the sports pecking order and hoping the marvelously talented, totally charismatic Parker can become a national star -- the pregnancy has singular ramifications.

Parker announced her pregnancy Wednesday. In November, she had been in Bristol, Conn., filming an ESPN SportsCenter commercial (pictured above during a break in the shoot).

"We didn't know Candace was pregnant when we shot," ESPN spokesperson Kim Jarvis said. "Yes, it may affect the release date, as we like to keep the spots topical and relevant to the sports climate."

Offering a woman the chance to do one of those ads is a big deal, and ESPN had tentatively

planned to use the Parker spot to help promote the WNBA's opening game June 6 between the Sparks and defending champion Detroit Shock.

Personnel-wise, the Sparks might also have to make moves to ensure the team can remain in playoff contention until Parker is back.

Sparks General Manager Penny Toler said the team has made an offer to Detroit Shock restricted free agent Kara Braxton and is considering going after a pair of unrestricted free agents -- Tina Thompson and Lauren Jackson.

Toler also said her reaction on hearing the Parker news was simple.

"Wow, just wow," Toler said. "That's kind of my reaction to so many of Candace's plays. Wow."

Now it's up to Toler to figure out how to make Sparks fans say "Wow" until the wow woman herself comes back to play.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: In November, Candace Parker was at ESPN headquarters to film a "SportsCenter" commercial. Here, she has some lip liner applied during a break in the shooting. Credit: Douglas Healey / Associated Press