Thursday, April 01, 2004

Candace Parker's Dunk
I still haven't seen it, but when a girl wins the McDonald's All-American dunk contest, I knew it was a fix. Apparently what happened is the guys went for the gold and missed, while she just dumped one in and that was good enough. Jason Whitlock at ESPN is not amused.

Her pedestrian dunks didn't advance equality or women's basketball. The judges and the crowd treated her like she'd performed with a disability. Seven judges gave her a perfect 10 on her final dunk. Had a healthy boy completed the same dunks in an all-star dunk contest, he might've been booed off the court.

Is that the equality we're looking for?

Parker is one of the most talented female athletes in the world. She's worked as hard as any boy to hone her skills. So it means little when she wins a contest tilted in her favor. That's degrading. And so is the subsequent patronizing news coverage.

The story could've been told straight. No one had to pretend that this was some sort of historic moment in sport. But that's not what we do when it comes to women's sports. We overhype everything. We create monumental myths. There are people who still believe that Brandi Chastain and the U.S. women's World Cup team pulled off the equivalent of the Miracle on Ice.

That's because there's a strong, militant and active segment of our population that too often measures women by the same standards as men. And who says that's a good thing?

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