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Best of 2023: Interview insights from Candace Parker, Muffet McGraw and more

Throughout 2023, we had the opportunity to chat with players and personalities from across the women’s game. Here’s a look back at some of the most insightful and informative interviews.

The Kelly Clarkson Show - Season 5
In 2023, we spoke to Candace Parker about her efforts to expand access to fitness.
Photo by: Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

In our wishes for 2024, Edwin Garcia emphasized his intention to provide the best women’s basketball coverage possible. It’s something all us strive to do here at Swish Appeal. In 2023, interviews with individuals from across the sport helped us do that, offering unique insights into experiences and amplifying under-appreciated stories.

Here’s a look back at those conversations:

A chat with CP3

Dallas Wings v Las Vegas Aces
The Las Vegas Aces’ Candace Parker, pictured warming up for a 2023 game.
Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s always a privilege to speak with one of the game’s GOATs.

In June, Chelsea Leite spoke to Candace Parker, a conversation that ranged from Parker’s project with Muscle Milk to provide outdoor fitness courts to her decision to join the Las Vegas Aces to her work in basketball media to how her family serves as her oasis from the game.

Appreciating the experiences of pioneers

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - Final Four - Semifinals
Former Notre Dame head coach Muffett McGraw, pictured during a 2012 game.
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In her interview with Chelsea, Parker credited those that came before her, citing how the likes of Lisa Leslie and Cynthia Cooper “push[ed] the game forward.”

Stephanie Kaloi spoke to several individuals who helped lay the foundation for women’s pro basketball in the United States well before Leslie, Cooper and the first generation of WNBA stars. Former Notre Dame head coach Muffett McGraw discussed her time suiting up for the Women’s Professional Basketball League’s (WBL) California Dreams, while DePaul head coach Doug Bruno shared details about his involvement with the WBL’s Chicago Hustle.

Although both emphasized the progress made in the more than 40 years since the demise of the WBL, McGraw and Bruno each reiterated the need for more investment in and attention to women’s basketball.

Perspectives of the ups, downs and opportunities

Las Vegas Aces v Dallas Wings
UNI Győr’s Destiny Slocum, pictured playing for the Las Vegas Aces in 2021.
Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

In wishcasting 2024, Noa Dalzell called for better compensation for and appreciation of WNBA players, as well as improved access to the game around the globe.

In our currently still-less-than-ideal women’s basketball world, numerous athletes simply must make the best of it, searching around the world not only for opportunities to play the game they love but also to be valued for their skill, savvy and passion. Łukasz Muniowksi spoke to players who have chosen to ply their trade far and wide, many of whom are striving for another opportunity in the WNBA.

One of Łukasz’s most enlightening conversations was with Destiny Slocum, who offered an introspective perspective of her near-lifelong basketball journey.

Learning from coaches’ approaches

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Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder, pictured during a 2023 game.
Joseph Cress/For the Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

At all levels of basketball, head coaches are highly scrutinized, quickly blamed for any failings while rarely receiving requisite credit for successes. One individual facing such a spotlight is Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder. Zachary Draves had the opportunity to speak with Bluder, the person responsible for helping collegiate superstar Caitlin Clark achieve the sport’s most sought after honor—a national championship. Bluder exudes an enviably measured attitude about the expectations on her Hawkeyes.

Compared to Bluder, the name Jelena Škerović is unfamiliar to most American fans. Yet in her conversation with Łukasz, Škerović shared universal insights about the challenges faced by head coaches.