Basketball News: After being the first female cover star of the NBA 2K video game series, Candace Parker was chosen one of the most marketable athletes of 2021, ahead of LeBron James.
After being awarded one of SportsPro’s 50 Most Marketable athletes, WNBA star Candace Parker paid respect to female trailblazers, including gymnast Simone Biles.
After a fantastic year that saw her become the first female cover star of an NBA video game, Chicago Sky forward Parker has been ranked 22nd on the list for 2021, two sports ahead of LeBron James in 24.
Biles dethroned Lionel Messi, who had held the top spot in 2020 but had dropped to 12 this time.
Rather than analysing follower counts on social media, SportsPro’s list was built by examining how diverse and engaged an athlete’s audience was with their material.
As a result, the ranking produces some surprising results, with Biles, tennis star Naomi Osaka, and Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris making an all-female top three, with Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez in fourth place.
— NBA 2K (@NBA2K) July 14, 2021
“It’s not only that Simone Biles is the most marketable athlete in the world; nearly 40% of the top 50 are women,” according to SportsPro.
“Women’s sports have witnessed a considerable increase in audience growth in recent years, with the most crucial factor being the level of love that fans have for their favourite players and teams,” it continued.
“That fan passion is evident not only in the stands but also in the high level of social media engagement received by female athletes, which is often higher in relation to follower number than what is generally observed from supporters of men’s sports.”
Parker acknowledged the female trailblazers who came before her in opening doors of opportunity in a wide-ranging interview following the announcement, and she continues to do the same for others.
“It’s vital for young girls to understand they can own their excellence,” Parker said when questioned about four-time Olympic gold medalist gymnast Simone Biles’ achievement of ranking first in the 2021 edition of the list.
“I believe it speaks for many of the folks who have gone before me because I know we’re opening more doors and we always talk about the opportunity we’re providing for the future generation.”
“But the generation before me opened up all of these opportunities for me to be able to first go out and do what I love and then be able to move beyond that,” the 35-year-old said, still one of the WNBA’s biggest stars in the league’s 25th season.
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