A sign of the (L.A.) times: The TV making of Candace Parker at the Big Dance
By Tom Hoffarth
Park yourself in Candace Parker’s chair.
Six nights in a row from the Turner Sports studio in Atlanta, the Sparks’ star forward runs the wing for hours of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament coverage, launching on-the-fly commentary as required.
It’s a blur to keep up with whether a game is starting, ending or at halftime, or if it’s a hit for TBS, TNT or TruTV, not to mention paying attention to the CBS monitor. It’s about interacting with and reacting to studio cohorts Casey Stern, Seth Davis, Brendan Haywood and a rotation of current coaches.
Sneak a peek, too, at what ESPN was doing with the women’s tournament — particularly Tennessee’s loss to UCLA on Saturday — as the former Lady Vol sweats out her men’s bracket, where she picked the Tennessee Volunteers to win it all.
It began with play-in games Tuesday and Wednesday, ramped up to the full throttle of 12-hour stretches Thursday and Friday, then transitioned to the Saturday-Sunday demand of whittling things down to a Sweet 16. Through it all, Parker has shown an endearing endurance for someone who says she’s still trying to figure this thing out.
“It’s cool,” she says. “Only two days that are really long. The other days aren’t so bad. There are obviously worse things to be doing, right?”
Read more here from our weekly L.A. Times sports media column about how Parker has set the stage for a post-playing career with Turner at this link …