Outtakes with Candice Wiggins

The following interview appears in the May 31 issue of ESPN The Magazine. More content from the issue can be found here

KM: How's your health? I understand you're a little injured. Going to miss much time?
CW: I'm not sure. The time frame was four to six weeks, but who knows? Could be sooner.

KM: Does the WNBA also have a dress code? Or can you wear sweats on the sideline?

CW: We do have a dress code. We have to look nice. But after wearing them throughout my college career, I now have a fear of sweats. The time has come to move away from them.

KM: I don't think I'm being patronizing by saying a WNBA team couldn't beat an NBA team. But could it beat a decent men's college team? Division III? What about a men's state champion high school team? Would you beat them? My daughter says you would.

CW: Let's throw the ball out there and find out. I played on a guys' team into high school and was a big part of the team. I started. One of my teammates was Jared Dudley, who plays for the Suns, and another was my brother, who is 6'9". Based on that, I feel like we could.

KM: When you played with boys, did it take awhile for opponents to respect your skills?

CW: Of course. Guys on other teams were mad a girl was playing. But at least in high school I had my brother. He was always getting technicals for fighting guys who pushed me.

KM: Where is your brother playing now?

CW: In Romania. He's a laid-back kind of guy. All he needs is food, water and an Xbox, and he can live anywhere. So, he's good.

KM: I remember seeing your father. Alan, on the Padres. How old were you when he died?

CW: A month shy of my fourth birthday. I have memories of him, though they're faint. But my mom did a good job of explaining how his spirit can live on through us.

KM: He died of complications from AIDS, back when not much was known about the disease. You're certainly honoring him with the charity work you do to promote HIV awareness.

CW: That's what I play for; what I do everything for. I was too young to understand AIDS, and at the time there was a strong stigma attached to it. But my mom kept telling me I had to play with a purpose, so I could tell my story and inspire people.

KM: You grew up near San Diego. Which do you prefer: SeaWorld, Legoland or the zoo?

CW: I'd say SeaWorld, but I don't like the Shamu Show. It rubs me the wrong way. As a child I was like, Oh, cool. Now I look at it and think, Eesh. But I love polar bears and penguins, so I'll go with SeaWorld because of Penguin Encounter. It's so cool; like, Whoa, there's a penguin.

KM: What is a lynx, exactly? Some kind of big old cat?

CW: Yes, it's this rare cat. I'd never heard of it before. Then one night I was watching the Discovery Channel and it talked about the lynx, and how it's this faraway animal that lives on the tundra in random places. They don't really go out. They're very private animals.

KM: I'm hardly a wildlife expert, but the lynx isn't the first animal that comes to mind when I think of Minnesota. Does it seem like a strange choice to you?

CW: I know. Well, I don't know. You'll have to ask the person who came up with the mascot, because I really am curious too. I like being The Lynx, though. I feel rare.

KM: Now, I could be wrong here, but "lynx" is both singular and plural. It always bothers me when people use the wrong singular or plural term for team names. "The Jazz" sounds singular, so people should say "The Jazz is good," whereas they should say "The Seahawks were bad," plural.

CW: I'm a grammar freak too, but I stopped rationalizing team names and mascots. My high school team was a Torrey Pine tree, and college had the Stanford Tree. So, y'know ...