On the eve of the WNBA season, Candice Wiggins talks Michael Jordan, Maya Moore and Minnesota Lynx.
by Candice Wiggins | @candicewiggins
Do you remember when the “Like Mike” campaign first came out? It was incredible for the basketball world. I would even compare it to the release of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video, in that it truly made Michael Jordan a household name. I wanted to be like Mike; you wanted to be like Mike; in fact, I honestly believe that at sometime every hooper wanted to be like Mike after the “Like Mike” campaign launched in the early ’90s.
What was it about him?
Well, he changed the game. He did what others before him didn’t—he balanced his passion for the game and his passion for life. He possessed an unparalleled competitive spirit. Of course, on top of all this, he was really good at what he did and never took his God-given abilities for granted. And more, much more than this, he did it his way. The biggest reason why MJ was so successful was because he made himself iconic through his brand. We have all seen the evolution of who most call the greatest player to ever play the game. Even now, with his basketball career long over, his brand still lives on and continues to thrive.
As a female basketball player growing up in a man’s world, one of the lingering questions you have throughout your career is “Can I ever really measure up to the likeness of Michael Jordan?” I am certain that’s also a question that ever male basketball player has faced as well, but think about the barriers women face.
The question is a legitimate one.
A few weeks ago, in May of 2011 Maya Moore answered that question by being the first female to sign with the Jordan Brand. History. Because she was drafted by the Minnesota Lynx this past offseason, I’m blessed enough to now be her teammate, and it’s been awesome watching how she totally embodies everything Michael Jordan does.
I practice against her everyday, and as a player she’s everything she’s advertised to be. But what I have really noticed is the type of person she is. She stands so strong in her faith, she’s uplifting to all her teammates, hard working, super disciplined (on and off the court), and absolutely a player that we can all look up to. What she does best is balance her talent with her determination to be even better, and that’s something we can all strive for. Its tangible, so consequently we all can be like Maya, and that’s what’s so awesome about her.
When I first saw the many pairs of Jordans piled up in front of her locker, I couldn’t even believe it! I thought to myself, “Oh yeah, this is big time!!” I immediately wanted to be at that level, and I know it was an inspiring day for every female athlete in the world.
The 2011 WNBA season opener begins tonight (Look for a season preview on the site later today—Ed.) here in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, and I hope the world is watching us. Even if people are only there to see how talented Maya is. We’re baller women!
Shout out to Michael Jordan for being so inspiring and influential to the game of basketball, and for transcending the women’s game by making history with the signing of Maya Moore.
I want to know what the world thinks about Maya being the first woman to be signed by Jordan Brand? Let me know via twitter @candicewiggins and be sure to follow @MooreMaya if you aren’t already. She’s about to change the game!
“If I Could Be Like Maya…”
And, of course, be sure to watch the WNBA action that starts tonight! The Minnesota Lynx are ready to do major damage this year, and I am beyond excited to play in my first game in almost a year!