When it comes to basketball, Candace Parker has literally done it all. She’s a two-time NCAA champion, two-time WNBA champion, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, two-time WNBA MVP, WNBA Finals MVP, WNBA All-Star Game MVP, WNBA Rookie of the Year, WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and serves Shaq regular doses of humble pie as an analyst for Turner Sports.
And now, after experiencing unprecedented success both on and off the court, she’s moving behind the camera for her first executive producing effort on the upcoming documentary Title IX: 37 Words That Changed America. Premiering on TBS ahead of the men’s Final Four on Saturday, April 2 at 1 p.m. ET, the doc explores the impact of the groundbreaking law ahead of its 50th anniversary. Parker discussed why this project is so important to her in an interview with the Associated Press.
“I sit here because of Title IX. Although we have so many wins, we have so much further to go. That’s why we went with having the Title IX story told through my eyes so that you can see if Title IX didn’t exist, I wouldn’t exist,” Parker said.
For those unfamiliar, Title IX is a federal civil rights law thatreads: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
As influential as Title IX has been and as far as women’s sports has come, there’s still obvious inequalities in how men’s and women’s college sports are treated. For example, look no further than the difference in facilities between “the bubbles” of last year’s NCAA basketball tournaments. The women were put in subpar conditions and for some reason not allowed to use the highly marketable “March Madness” slogan.
“Something as simple as March Madness, right? Like, now women can use that. That’s unbelievable. It’s 2022,” Parker said. “But things are changing. But it still doesn’t take away that we still have so much farther to go. I think that’s the whole point of doing this documentary is if you invest, it’s not a charity, it’s an investment. And it’s an honest investment of trying to make it work. And I think for so long, we just existed; women’s sports existed as something that had to be there. And now we look at it as an investment, and then I think we can start moving things forward.”
The film includes interviews with women’s sports pioneer Billie Jean King, basketball hall of famer Lisa Leslie, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“There’s a number of influential voices that I think I have to pinch myself to realize that they’re a part of it,” Parker said. “To have Billie Jean King, like the 10-year-old girl that did a biography project on her, I just think it’s just so special.
Following the premiere of Title IX: 37 Words That Changed America, live from New Orleans TBS will air a special edition of its sports talk show The Arena hosted by Cari Champion and featuring guests Parker; athletic director at Dillard University, Dr. Kiki Barnes; NFL superstar Tyrann Mathieu and hip-hop mogul Master P discussing the 50th anniversary of Title IX.
Title IX: 37 Words That Changed America premieres Saturday, April 2 at 1 p.m. ET on TBS.