Nike: The Goddess of Victory


by Candice Wiggins | @candicewiggins

So….the Minnesota Lynx lost in the WNBA Finals.

I must first give a special thank you to all of #LosLynxNation and the wonderful fans of Minnesota who stayed with us throughout the entire season in our attempt to make history. What does the destination mean when the journey is meaningless? Our fans are winners because of their love and support, and that’s why losing in the Finals was so devastating.

Although losing is never fun, I have to say that I was very happy for the WNBA Champion Indiana Fever. They were a great team, led by a remarkable leader in Tamika Catchings (nothing short of phenomenal as a player and person). And after hearing about how her, Katie Douglas and Tammy Sutton-Brown came up short all these years, it was good to see them finally feel the joy of being Champions. They deserve it. I also had the honor of playing with Jeanette Pohlen my senior year at Stanford when she was just a little freshman pup, and together we beat the odds and made it to the Final Four in 2008. Jeanette and the freshmen always called me “mom,” (although admittedly I always told the freshmen I was more like a cool, hip, irresponsible aunt) and seeing Jeanette also get a title after devastatingly tearing her ACL a few days earlier was truly like watching my “daughter” win.

But I did feel like a loser. For a short while….until I had to quickly plan my costume for the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation’s Annual Dream Halloween event, which this year was renamed “Keep a Child Alive.”

This event means EVERYTHING to me, for obvious reasons. When I was growing up as a child in the 90s, there were no organizations dedicated to helping children who are not just necessarily diagnosed with AIDS, but rather affected by AIDS as well.

In the 90s, children affected by AIDS were a lost demographic, and it warms my heart that since their early beginnings in 2002, the CAAF has been dedicated to keeping the hopes and dreams of children affected by this horrible disease alive. With Keep a Child Alive, founded by Alicia Keys, there is now a focus on treatment, food, orphan care, and a future, with a strong emphasis on the entire world.

My whole family looks forward to this event, just to reinforce our hope and optimism about the future of this disease and it’s impact on the world. Plus, it’s so fun to dress up!

I soon got the best idea for a costume, getting several sources of inspiration from various places. Although I lost the WNBA Championship, I decided I was going as my favorite Greek goddess

Nike: The Goddess of Victory

As a proud Nike-sponsored athlete, I have gotten a special opportunity to really get to know the Nike brand personally. In addition to visiting their awesome headquarters in Oregon, I’ve read (and highly recommend) A New Brand World, by Scott Bedbury, which is a compelling read about the incredible brand that Nike has created. I’ve also seen extraordinary documentaries on Phil Knight, and the incredible story of how he built Nike. (I think my favorite part of his story is how he wrote his term paper on the Nike Company at none other than the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Super dope!)

One of the first things I learned when I signed with Nike is the derivation of the name “Nike.” I quickly learned it had Greek roots. During my time spent in Athens, Greece, while playing overseas for Athinaikos from 2009-2010 I asked one of my Greek teammates about who Nike was to them. The first thing she did was swiftly correct my pronunciation of the word.

“It’s NEE-kEY, not “NI-kEY,” she patiently explained (with no eye-roll, to my surprise).

After that response and a brief Greek history lesson, I decided it would be best to do my own American research.

Nike was a goddess who personified victory. Not a lot is known about her except that she is often seen with wings in most statues and paintings. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. And an interesting note is that Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena, and is believed to have stood in Athena’s outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. She had to be a pretty dope chick if Athena was her homegirl.

This summer was also special because of the Olympic Games, and I was fortunate enough to play with three members of the United States Women’s Basketball Team. My teammate Maya Moore graciously showed me her Olympic gold medal from London, and you can imagine my joy when none other than Nike appeared on the front! It gave me further inspiration to be Nike for the CAAF Dream Halloween event. She was everywhere I went!

No matter who she was in Greek mythology, on October 27, 2012 Candice Wiggins WAS Nike at the Children Affected by AIDS Dream Halloween/Keep a Child Alive event. An event that has given me promise and hope for the future of this world, and all the affected children battling this horrible disease.

I may have lost the WNBA Finals, but thanks to the CAAF, and the great Nike, this year I truly feel victorious.

To learn more about the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation and the 2012 Keep a Child Alive/Dream Halloween event, go online to