“‘You can’t do it all,’ they said until you did.” Basketball dynamite Candace Parker provides a wide-open forum into her mind through BAND-AID Brand’s latest ad campaign.
The brand’s widened its range of colors offered through its collection of OURTONE brown skin tone bandages. The launch sought out figures familiar with going against all odds, tapping ballerina Michaela DePrince, DJ D-Nice, and the former University of Tennessee Lady Vols star.
Parker told The Knockturnal that shooting with BAND-AID was fun. The campaign combined all facets of who she is: a mother, athlete, and pioneer. And the WNBA player is proud of all being all of those things. “[The ad] was really driven home towards giving empowerment and feeling uplifting, feeling proud of who you are.”
“I love basketball. I love what I do. I love being a mom. You know I love competing. I think that that’s always driven me to get back up, whenever I get hurt or an injury or whatever.”
Who Parker is, is currently full circle—from dominating the courts of Chicago ball as a kid to returning to the city in 2021 via a trade to the WNBA’s Chicago Sky. Getting here in her journey, she faced injury, balanced motherhood and basketball, and ultimately became a gamechanger with records, championships, MVP awards, and medals in national, international, and overseas competition. Now with the Sky, she prepares for playoffs.
The forward calls this point in her life the chapter of “the transition”—as she now seeks to expand into different ventures within, coinciding with, and outside of basketball. Her plate includes hosting a parenting podcast, acting as an analyst for the NCAA and NBA, and representing multiple brands. Parker is also the first woman to grace a cover of video game franchise NBA 2K.
“You know I think I’m transitioning into something different from what I’ve done for the last damn near 30 years of my life. I played basketball seriously since I was like 12, but I’ve been in rec leagues since I was five,” Parker told The Knockturnal. “So I think this is definitely the transition of what I’m doing, what I hope to do.”
No matter the stage in her life, speaking out for what she believes in has always been a package deal. For example, once drafted first overall to the Los Angeles Sparks in 2008, Parker joined a league where diversity, activism, and representation flourished. The presence of various races, sexualities, and socio-economic backgrounds left a mark on her and how serious the rest of the WNBA took that did as well. “I think it’s been an experience to be a part of changing the way things have always been.”
The WNBA star shared similar sentiments about her new ad. As a black woman growing up, she accepted bandages for what they were and their inability to match everyone’s skin color. But then she began questioning, “Why can’t they be our tone?” While a BAND-AID may seem small, its impact has the potential to be enormous. Parker continued, “I’m really big on those things you didn’t know could change and didn’t pay attention to it.” The hues of OURTONE demonstrate to her how inclusion can be a norm. “This is the way it should have been.”
Creating a new norm and being a part of change is crucial to improving the world. The generations that follow us, Parker internalizes, rely on seeing our actions rather than solely hearing our words. They are always watching. And having her daughter, Lailaa, at the bow of her professional career equipped Parker with a personal audience early on that she has no intention of disappointing or leading astray. BAND-AID coated the ad with Parker’s choice “lead by example” parenting method. In it, the athlete is motivated to do her best because of her daughter–resembling real life.
“I don’t want [Lailaa] to have to have the same conversations, and walk into the rooms and see the same people that I do. I want her to be able to walk into rooms and see a representation of a lot of different people.” Parker commented to The Knockturnal, “I don’t want her to be put in a box and so I think that that’s all the motivation that I need to continue.”
Parker and her daughter differ in skin tone, she noted. OURTONE allows them both to have options for adhesive bandages that blend in with their bodies and, as the WNBA player said, “uplifts.”
Post-ad, Parker gets to take her daughter around the Chicago streets she once ventured as a kid. She prepares for WNBA playoffs in arenas stacked with hometown faces she’s played in front of for her entire career. And she’s reminded of messages she’s learned from basketball and beyond: uplift, empower, be loud, and be unapologetic.