Saturday, December 5, 2009
A long time ago, some thought that Chamique Holdsclaw would be "the next Michael Jordan" - whatever that meant. SLAM Magazine has put the article "Chamique Shall Inherit The Earth" up on its website. The article was written between 1998 and 1999, during the NBA Lockout.
The future and its opportunities are mind-boggling. The fat contract and shoe deal are the easy parts. Her talent, success and grace make her a perfect candidate for the same kind of high-profile endorsements Jordan secured when he entered the league. Apple pie. Ice cream. Fresh air. Hell, she could be a one-woman Fourth of July parade. “The team understands what’s ahead for her,” Jolly says. “Sometimes, she’ll say, ‘That player has a nice shoe contract.’ We look at her like she’s crazy and tell her, ‘You’ll have a contact twice as big as that.’” It’s true. Sheryl Swoopes and Rebecca Lobo may have dabbled in the world of big basketball business, but Holdsclaw will break the bank.
That’s why last January’s meeting with Michael Jordan had significance. The Lady Vols were in Chicago to play DePaul, and a visit to MJ’s restaurant was arranged. “She was very shy at first,” Summitt says. “It took her a few minutes to relax. She was quiet, had a soft smile and a little giggle. That’s Chamique.” The meeting didn’t last too long, maybe 15 minutes, and as it ended, Jordan, ever the good company wonk, told the Lady Vols they had to go, because “he couldn’t stand looking at all the Adidas gear,” Holdsclaw says, laughing.
Of course, a year from now, those could be replaced by The Claw, or whatever other clever name a shoe company can concoct for Holdsclaw’s signature shoe. In 10 years, some hot young player might be ushered into ’Mique’s office for an audience and come away with the same sense of wonder. It’s all there, waiting. The fame and fortune. The championships. The adoring fans. The headaches. Trying to compare Chamique Holdsclaw to any woman who came before her is fruitless. She is the future of women’s basketball. She is the groundbreaker.