Candace Parker On Her Key Financial Choices | Kneading Dough S.3 E. 7

(hip-hop music) ♪ High school graduates ♪ ♪ Straight to the league ♪ ♪ I ain’t waiting for my knee to blow ♪ ♪ Yesterday I was kneadin’ this dough ♪ ♪ Get it, I was kneadin’ this dough ♪ Thank you for coming on the show. Thank you for having me. You grew up in Naperville, right? Right outside of Chicago. What was Naperville like, give me a feel for it. So I was born in St. Louis and then– Oh, I didn’t know that! Shortly yeah, so I was like, part of the St. Lunatics and, (laughing) I was with the Chingy, all that. Air Force Ones, Chingy, and– All that, yeah. Yeah, exactly. But we moved really early. So I claim St. Louis, but I’m not from there. But Naperville was rated when I was there, one of the top two places in the country to raise kids. Wow. And so, I was very fortunate to live in a community that had a great school, great public school system, sports, activities. Growing up what did your parents do for a living? So my dad worked in insurance for years, and my mom– Like a sales guy? Yes, stayed at home with us. And so, we had a good situation. And obviously I’m 11 years younger than my oldest brother, and Anthony, he went pro– Anthony’s in the middle? Anthony’s the oldest.
Oh he’s the oldest? Yeah, Anthony’s the oldest, and then Marcus is in the middle, and so, you know it was kinda funny because, you know, you talked about Anthony played professional basketball for all those years, my middle brother’s a doctor. Wow. And it’s hilarious because people walk up, and are like, What happened to you? (laughing) It’s like, dude, he’s a doctor! Doctor, yeah. What’re you talking about? And so it’s just kinda like, our parents really pushed us to do what we’re passionate about, and us two, we loved basketball, and him, in high school, he decided he, that’s what he wanted to be. Wanted to be a doctor. As a kid, did your parents, did you guys talk about money and discuss what it was like to save money, or invest money, or things like that in the house? So we had discussions about money, but I think when we really talked about it was when my brother got drafted and a lot was thrown at him, you know, and it changed for our, you know, for our family and the way that we looked at success and how we could pursue life and money and be great at something. And I think that that’s kinda when it changed. For most hoopers, even myself, who played college, you start six years old, I was there playing. You didn’t start playing until the eighth grade. But then you quickly became, you know, really incredible. And then you became the first woman to announce your college on ESPN. What made you choose Tennessee? Well I feel like if I’m a doctor, I wanna, my brother went to Johns Hopkins, he went to the best– Got it. Medical school. And I wanted to be a professional athlete, and so I wanted to play at a school that fought for women, that fought for equality. At the time we were there we had two separate athletic departments. The best coach ever to me in Pat Summitt. And we had 20,000, I think my senior year, we averaged 16 or 17,000 people every game. Wow. And for me in college, that’s I want to play in front of. Of course. And there was just no better choice than going there and tryna compete with national championships. Obviously the legendary Coach Summitt, did she talk to you about, hey after college, being a pro, what that all means when you’re being recruited? When you asked her questions, and you went into her office she would tell you, but if you just looked around at her hustle, and how hard she worked, and she really didn’t have to do anything other than coach. Yup. But she’s doing speaking engagements, she spoke to the CIA. (laughing) Wow. When I was there, countless fundraisers– And she’d tell you guys about these things? Yes, and that’s the thing is the fact that as athletes when we have these meetings with boosters and different events, it’s relationships. So she would preach being able to have a relationship with somebody so that when something happens, if there’s a business opportunity, you want your name to be the first thing that they think of. Of course. And you have to do that by, establishing relationships, be confident in yourself. So I think she did it by an example, we talked about it a little bit but more so just watching her. It’s interesting because to your point. A lot of it is like well they call you student athletes, which I obviously think is bullshit. But to see the coach gets to coach and go do other things.
Yeah. Did you take that in in any kind of way and think about that? From a very young age I was taught you have to be able to do a lot of different things well, and basketball has been so great to me. But you know what, I gotta be versatile. Just like I’m on the court I gotta be off the court as well. I gotta be able to establish relationships, I gotta be able to maneuver a room, I gotta be able to you know, talk about business and be able to take care of my finances. And so I think that’s kind of what I’ve learned through this entire process. Has that been met with any resistance, anyone like, you know, Candace you doing too much, you need to be training, you should be doing this but you actually need to get back on the court and focus? You know it’s funny because I think Instagram to me, Twitter brings out peoples true thoughts, for me. And I think it’s something that you have to look at because that’s really people being authentic. In who they are.
Of course. Because they’re able to say whatever they want. Yes. And so you know obviously the back to the kitchen references, the make the sandwich references, there’s a lot of people that think that women athletes shouldn’t be out there being more than athletes. Of course. I think there’s some when they get personal I have to address it– You address it sometimes? If you get personal, yes! But if it’s a generalization, I think the thing that irritates me the most is you can not fight for equality with your own agenda. That’s not equality. What do you mean, you mean like– So if I’m, and there’s a lot of African-American young males that are on Instagram and their profile picture is Black Lives Matter, and then you’re commenting on me that I need to get back in the kitchen doesn’t work that way. You can’t have equality for one. Equality is equal. Of course.
Like the word is– The word is there. In there– It’s derived from equal. Exactly, and so I think that’s the thing that I think disappoints me and that’s what makes me wanna fight harder, I have daughter, you know, you have a daughter. Yup. And I don’t want her to be born at a disadvantage just because she’s a girl. I’m very honest with her. We have a lot talks and conversations but I think that the world is gonna be better for her. I hope that that’s what I’m doing right now is, that she doesn’t see the difference of being a little girl. Obviously, you know there’s Title IX which is supposed to bring equality amongst all the sports. ‘Cause we know in college, football brings the most. I’m a big Ohio State fan, football brings in a ton of money and basketball but then there supposed to spread it out and then Title IX is supposed to make sure it’s even between men and women. But you went to a school where women’s basketball was at the pinnacle. I mean football always at the pinnacle especially SEC– We played after the men during midnight madness. Did you quickly realize like, wait I’ma fe, they’re making me like– You know it’s interesting– ‘Cause Title IX supposed to alleviate that– I’m about to go like way back, so I was 18, I went to prom with Dwight Howard actually. I didn’t know that. Yeah so McDonald’s All American, National Player of the Year, he goes straight to the NBA, signed a deal you know, obviously was drafted by Orlando, signed a shoe deal, did all this stuff. I went to college, which is great, I was, Tennessee was, but I think that’s when I first realized like, aw damn, like there’s a huge difference. (laughing) You know what I mean like he just changed his life, me, it’s changing my life but not in that way. Do you remember when you went into the WNBA, obviously there’s a pay equity thing, do you actually remember when you got your first big check? So I signed with Adidas out of college and got a house when I first moved to LA ’cause I wanted to make this home. You know that was kind of the first thing that I did was get a place to stay. Female basketball players play in the WNBA, but you actually make more money if you go overseas to Russia or to some place like that. How does that work, and why is it that way? Money is more of foreign owner. Like our owner was like the fourth richest man in Russia and it really literally was like our team was the talking point, like we won this many championships, like bow! You know put it on the table and so I think it’s less of like looking at it as like a financial gain over there and we have sponsors and things like that that really put a lot into the team. Overseas to be able to have six, 7,000 fans every night for a women’s game is huge, played in Ekaterinburg and it’s just better, I mean the money is just better over there. And so I think initially when I first entered in the WNBA I was like I’m gonna change that. Gonna make the WNBA– I’m gonna change that, like I’m gonna to make the WNBA like I’m gonna get paid over here so I don’t have to go overseas. And then I had my daughter and I was like well I gotta start making (laughing) financial decisions that are best and it’s hard to pass up that type of money. Raising a daughter, and she’s growing up much different than you did. Much different. So how do you view raising your daughter? And do you think about how you were raised versus how she’s raised? I think it is a balance because when I went to the store and by no means were we poor, by any means but we didn’t live the way that my daughter lives right now. But when we went to the store and I said, hey can I? It was no because we can’t. When I go to the store with my daughter it’s no because you just aren’t going to get that. Does she know– Like you can’t have everything you want. She knows you can get it. Exactly, and so I think it’s just a balance of trying to teach that work ethic because a lot of it what we’re built with is that like desire to succeed.
Of course. And it is a balance of trying to like give them the things that we maybe didn’t have but also still instill that work ethic and that desire to compete and that life’s not easy and things like that. Since you were a rookie to now, would you have done anything different based on what you’ve now learned and know about overseas, WNBA as you navigated your pro career? You know the best advice I got was, before you enter into stocks make sure you know you have enough money in bonds first you have that kind of protection– Your nest egg. Yeah you have your nest, and I think that’s the kind of same thing with me before I decided to not go overseas this year and focus on businesses, focus on relationships focus on working at Turner and what’s after basketball you gotta have that cushion. Of course. And that’s what overseas did. For years– Was give you that cushion. Give me that cushion to be able to maybe make great decisions that are going to be good for me later but financially maybe might not make as much money for me right now. Got it, and did you deal with friends, family, anyone coming to you like, whoa can I get this? Can you put me on, I’m capable of this. Yes and I think that’s the biggest thing that a lot of my family, my coach, my brother everybody had told me that the older you get the more you feel less guilty about saying no. 100%, Lebron always says the first time he told his mom no he was like everybody else was fucked. I learned how to tell my mom no everybody else is over with. That’s the hardest things because you can. It goes back to like when you go to the grocery store and I asked when I was a kid and it was like, no sorry well you’re saying no when you can but you just, that’s not smart and so I think that’s the hardest thing is just like being able to balance that but like as you get older and you get more comfortable it’s like that voice becomes stronger and stronger like it doesn’t shake when you make decisions for yourself because your making it for your family and for your career. When was the hardest time you had to say no to somebody and like you thought about it for days like damn I didn’t want to do that but you to had set a precedent. You know you live in LA and although I really do think I’m a fantastic person, I think LA attracts a lot of friends, (laughing) that wanna come out here and they have like– Absolutely. Chances to– They want to turn your house into a hotel. Exactly and you know, my pool’s nice so they like to, you know chill by the pool, not bigger than Ye’s but it’s nice. (laughing) Let me tell you this it’s better than all the ones in Naperville. (laughing) There’s not many, I know I’m from Ohio. That’s true. Yes. And it’s nice weather all year round so Exactly. Being able to tell people like, listen you can’t, you gotta find somebody else to stay, you know what I mean so I think it’s just being able to stand on your own two feet and be like I have a family, I have a career, I’m focused on stuff, this isn’t always play time. Exactly. And you know I learned a lot from that in my ability to be, it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. And has your opinion on like what you will and won’t do endorsement wise change from when you were young– Oh my gosh 100%. How’s it changed from when you were to young to now? I think it sometimes seeing yourself as a business, as a brand and understanding that just because the check is more right now it’ll help your brand to grow bigger. I mean you talk about investments, you talk about maybe like, I mean even from learning from Steph Curry with Under Armor. Yup. Like are you kidding me? (laughing) You know what I mean?
For sure. Within Under Armour as opposed to taking a big salary from Nike I was more than that. Yup. Things like that, that you talk about information, paying attention to what’s around you and you know not necessarily just going for dollar signs going with what makes the most sense. Well yeah, it’s the oldest thing in the book. It’s like when we were young and Lebron was just starting and I just started a new job, there’s was always the question of like short term money over what you think would be better long term, but if you’re betting on the long term you have to take a real hard look in the mirror and bet on yourself. I’ll never forget it was twice, a lot of money one time $120 million dollars one time a check from Reebok for $10 million dollars but Lebron made the decision that he wasn’t going to take the money simply because on the other side of the money was him saying literally fuck that I’m betting on myself. He always believed he was going to be Lebron as we know him today and if he wavered on that in any little bit then he would’ve did it but that, it’s always the same things it’s like what’s good for me in the long run if I’m going to be Candace or do I just take this money you always have to, you’re constantly measuring that as a business person. I think that’s the greatness within the greats. Is you always have unwavering confidence in yourself and your ability to make decisions. And I think throughout the mistakes you’re learning from them as well. You know there’s been decisions that I’ve made that I look back and been like you know maybe I could’ve played one more year or maybe I could’ve played a full season and I’ve had you know x in my bank account at this point in time, but you roll with it and make the best of it. You bet on yourself like you said. My daughter is 10 years old right now. Wow. And I can’t keep taking her to these foreign countries overseas, it’s not helping you know what I mean. She needs to be in school, she needs to be with her friends, she needs to have activities. And so I don’t know if it’s a sacrifice because I think like you said I’m betting on myself and commentating I’m betting on myself to be able to you know build a relationships and have a life post career and a career post basketball. So I think those are all things that are scary but I’ve learned just by looking around look at Lebron, look at Steph, look at what Katie’s doing. You bet on yourself, you’re usually right. Exactly, if you’re like yourself if you’re great like yourself. So you’ve now played 11, this is your 11th season– This is my 12th but– This is your 12th. But 11 because it’s like the summer. Yeah, this is your 12th and you played nine overseas right? Mhm. So how is your view from when you were first starting change as you talk about, looking in your bank account, investing and saving money change, have you changed how you think about saving money versus investing it as you’ve now gotten older and longer into you career? I majored in finance and there was a class that I wasn’t going to be able to take for two semesters so I just switched my major. Wow. But a lot of my electives unfortunately are finance. (laughing) Classes and so I understand you know money but having to understand to surround yourself with people that are more knowledgeable than you are and allows me to do what I do. And so I think for me it was getting a base that I’m comfortable with that I can take care of myself. How did you come up with what that base should be? ‘Cause as a youngster you don’t know. You don’t know. I mean you can know all about finances but you like what should it be, I don’t know. I think you sit down with people that are more knowledgeable than you. Like my financial advisor basically sets goals and then for you, like I just bought a car three years ago. Really? I was so cool with my Beamer, it wasn’t, to me I would rather have a house and be comfortable with my daughter, nice schools and things like that than buy another car. And it was like I was here half the year anyway you know so it was just being able to sacrifice things like for me vacation and living in a nice home are the two– Those are your two things. Two important things, everything else– Is vacation your guilty pleasure? Vacation I– Me too by the way. I can not, like the hotels resort, yes. I agree I’m the same– So vacations and– I spend, I’m not a car person at all but vacation– Vacations and my house like I want where I go home to every night for myself to be yeah. So was the first thing you were saving for was to have that nest egg of money that you can then when you got there did you feel comfortable like now I can go splurge a little bit, or invest some? You know I sat down with my financial advisor and he explained to me that when you get to a certain point it’s not stocks and bonds that are going to make your bank you know it’s having relationships with people that have made billions. And it’s sitting down and understanding how they handled their money. And how old were you when you had to figure this, go through this? You know honestly my ex-husband handled a lot of our finances. Got it. You know obviously I was in all the meetings and things like that but the day to day things that needed to be done, he handled a lot of it. So I had a huge learning curve the last four years of really being heavily involved, really learning money market, learning my, like sitting down an talking and having a relationship with my investors and just learning. I think we wanna go for the home run and it’s not about that it’s about being smart and saying no! Saying no absolutely. And do you see, as young women come into the WNBA and they’re like navigating overseas and money and this. Do you see them struggling sometimes and trying to understand all of this. Well your rookie season I’ll tell you like it’s tough your rookie year. You know, you don’t get paid, you’re in college in April you don’t get paid til June 1st. Like you’re on per diem, like it’s tough. Yeah. You know what I mean, so you think of yourself as this professional athlete and I’ma have all this money but then it just like hit you in the face like you know you don’t have money to do things like that yet. Exactly. You’re not signing training camp contracts. Of course. You know ahead of the NBA season, that’s not how it works. Yeah. So you understand how important overseas is and how important relationships and also endorsements and getting out there. I think the main thing is too when you’re sitting down and filling out your paperwork and you’re talking about 401k– And taxes. And taxes and you’re understanding that like alright you make $50,000, you’re not getting $50,000. (laughing) You’re like FICA, who FICA? (laughing) Like oh my gosh, who’s that? I don’t even like that person. It’s understanding that you have to put into your 401k. Yup. That it’s a no brainer that you put the max in if you’re capable of it. Yup. So those are kind of the conversations that I’ve had with our rookies right now and just in terms of overseas making sure that you know you put certain things in your contract overseas because they like to you know go for loop holes over there. So what was the hardest, as a young WNBA player what was the hardest lesson for you to grab? ‘Cause you were not just as young people always just see the basketball part they don’t see all the off the court things that you have to deal with as a youngster of taxes, investments, saving that nest egg what that meant to ensure that later you can live this same lifestyle. What was the hardest part of that financial burden that you had to grasp whether it was as a youngster or as you said later because Shell handled a lot of your, your ex husband handled a lot of it. A lot of what was hard for me to grasp was like after year three, when I had signed all these contracts and had made all this money but then you look in the bank it’s not because you got agent fees, you got obviously marketing fees, you know, you got taxes you putting in for you 401k. So it was like but I made this so I should have– How do I not, this is off!
Exactly! Something’s off! And so I think it’s really sitting down and understanding I think that’s the biggest thing. Right now you talk about information, information is at our fingertips for what we want. We understand what happened on MediaTakeout. (laughing) We understand what happened yesterday in the NBA game when so and so didn’t like so and so, we can google that we can google those stories google about money, google about saving google about all this information is out there. Yup. And you have the ability and access to have it. To figure it out. To figure it out yourself. Exactly and was there any mistakes that you made either as a rookie or later when you had to take it over once you got divorced was there any mistake that you wish you would go back and change? Or that you learned a lot from? You know I think the, I won’t say a mistake but I think like you said what you spoke of earlier about taking quick cash. Yes, it’s always– That’s the biggest thing, it’s so it’s right there, it’s like hanging fruit. It’s easy I just gotta take one appearance, oh I get that. Exactly but does it grow who you are, does it put you in the room with people you need to be in? Yup. Does it grow you as a business person? Yup. And I think that’s the biggest thing is in shaping who you are, if you want to be authentic sometimes it’s no. And so I think that’s the biggest thing for me is just looking back I wish that I would’ve thought more long term, ’cause it’s hard when you’re 22 or 23 years old. Very hard. Like you’re like, man 35 is so long away. (laughing) So far away then I look up and it’s two years away. Yup. And so you know understanding that building your brand is way more important than taking quick cash. Exactly! When you’re done playing, whenever that is whenever you decide, what is the dream? What do you like want to do? Has that dream changed and what is it today? So I’m really big on heroes and basically if you want to be something if you look hard enough you’ll find it and you’ll find the equation to how to be that and I’m in LA so obviously I’ve watched Magic Johnson grown his empire. Of course. And you know I’ve watched people like Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan hustle and grind and get to where they’re at. And so for me, it’s those three that I look to as, you know, I want to be a business woman after the fact. Launching a production company now, just like trying to think farther ahead. Yup. Like you guys. (laughing) Thank you.
Honestly no forreal. Thank you. And it’s just honestly doing things because I don’t know if there’s aside from what Serena is doing now, I want women in sports to have something after basketball. I don’t want to people at the airport to come up and be like, you’re an athlete right? Like I want to be like, no I’m an author, a business woman, I’m an entrepreneur, I’m this, I’m that. I want to be all those things. And so I think that’s what makes me wake up everyday and wanna hustle. I think you’re gonna do it! (upbeat music)

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