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WNBA’s Candace Parker Named President of Adidas Women’s Basketball

“Stepping into this new leadership role is a deeply personal next step in my journey with Adidas,” said Parker, the latest basketball player-turned executive.

WNBA’s Candace Parker Named President of Adidas Women’s Basketball

WNBA legend Candace Parker (L) and NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal.

WNBA legend Candace Parker has found her next big gig less than two weeks after announcing her retirement.

The three-time WNBA champion, who announced her retirement via Instagram in late April, has been named president of Adidas Women’s Basketball. The news was first reported by Fast Company.

“We are honored to be a part of Candace’s historic legacy as she transitions from signature athlete to this new leadership role within Adidas Basketball,” Adidas Basketball global general manager Eric Wise said in a statement. “As a true innovator with a profound passion for the game, we are confident that she is a perfect fit to evolve the Adidas Women’s Basketball business and catalyze a new era of growth and credibility for the brand.”

Although this role is new, Parker has been tied to Adidas for 16 years, signing with the brand in 2008. Her Ace signature shoe line with Adidas debuted in 2010 with the launch of the Ace Commander, making her the first woman athlete to receive a signature shoe from the brand.

More recently, Parker and Adidas partnered in 2022 to create a mentorship program aimed at providing guidance to newly signed student-athletes as they navigate the NIL (name, image and likeness) era. Adidas made the announcement as it revealed its all-women NIL class — featuring 15 student-athletes — to celebrate the 50th year of Title IX.

WNBA’s Candace Parker Named President of Adidas Women’s Basketball

Candace Parker

“Stepping into this new leadership role is a deeply personal next step in my journey with Adidas,” Parker said in a statement. “From high school to college to playing pro to now, this appointment by Adidas symbolizes a shared commitment to making impactful change and setting new benchmarks for the future of women’s sports. It’s not just about products; it’s about fostering a movement focused on innovation, representation and access.”

In this role, Adidas said Parker will help “create a powerful platform aimed at influencing and elevating the future of women’s sports.” Also, the brand said Parker will leverage her understanding of the game and the needs of female athletes “to define a clear and impactful direction, with a focus on access, increased representation and breaking down barriers on a global scale.”

WNBA’s Candace Parker Named President of Adidas Women’s Basketball

Shaquille O’Neal

Although this is a new job for Parker, she has several peers who have carved out similar paths, including four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal. (Aside from their on-court careers, Parker has worked alongside O’Neal as an analyst for NBA on TNT.)

O’Neal, who was instrumental in the Authentic Brands Group acquisition of Reebok in August 2021, was named president of Reebok Basketball in October 2023. The move was part of Authentic’s long-term strategy to become a major player in team sports and focus on Reebok’s commitment to performance basketball.

“This is not a consulting role. This is not a figurehead announcement where we create a cool title and then he goes away and calls me once in a while,” Reebok CEO Todd Krinsky told WWD sister publication FN at the time of the announcement. “He’s committed to how we reenter the basketball community, everything from product to marketing to events. He’s got a sharp point of view on things, but he’s also very collaborative and he’s open minded on how we can reenter.”

Aside from the new role for O’Neal, Reebok also named NBA great Allen Iverson the vice president of Reebok Basketball. In this role, Reebok said Iverson would “drive player recruitment, grassroots and community-based initiatives and athlete activations,” such as the Iverson Classic high school basketball showcase.

WNBA’s Candace Parker Named President of Adidas Women’s Basketball

NBA star Steph Curry was named president of Curry Brand in March 2023.

While Parker and O’Neal earned their positions after their playing days, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry landed a president role with his on-court career still going strong. In March 2023, Curry was named president of Curry Brand, his Under Armour-backed imprint.

At the time of the announcement, Curry Brand said the athlete will serve in an advisory role that will include marketing the brand as a whole and expanding the Under Armour athlete roster. Also, the next phase of the partnership will focus on new and existing categories across a variety of sports, such as basketball, golf, womenswear, youth and sportstyle product.

“If the past 10 years have shown me anything, it’s that Under Armour and I can build great things together,” Curry said in a statement. “It’s all about impacting athletes and creating products that perform and resonate with them, and Under Armour does it best. In 2013 we bet on each other, and I’m all in on taking this next step together.”