Candace Parker’s Latest Adidas PE Pays Tribute To Pat Summitt’s Influence At Tennessee

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Whether it’s written on them or not, every pair of shoes tells a story. When you’re a professional basketball player, you’re allowed to share your story on the shoes that other people end up wearing. It’s a powerful thing, and more and more athletes are using their signature shoes to give people insight into what they care about and their career goals.

Candace Parker is taking that opportunity to share something she learned from legendary Tennessee Volunteers basketball coach Pat Summitt, words she carries with her on her arm every day. Her third PE, the Candace Parker Pro Bounce PE, was announced last week and pays tribute to Summitt, who coached Parker for three seasons in Knoxville.

Described by the Sparks star as a true women’s basketball shoe, it features an orange and white colorway reminiscent of Tennessee’s school colors and a design centered around Parker’s favorite quote from her longtime coach: “Left Foot, Right Foot, Breathe.” Parker has the quote tattooed on her arm, and said it was important that adidas help her pay tribute to Summitt, who passed away in 2016.

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“Everybody loves a story, and to be able to kind of wear your story on your foot and look down and have inspiration, that’s a lot and that’s kind of what this shoe is,” Parker told Uproxx by phone from an event celebrating the shoe’s release.

Parker’s been with adidas for 11 years now as a professional athlete, but she’s been wearing their shoes for far longer than that. She wore adidas in high school and at Tennessee, but it took a while for her to embrace the chance to do something special with a PE on a shoe that’s designed for her comfort.

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“I used to not really care. They used to send me gear and I’d wear it and not really know what was going on,” Parker said. “I think for them to be able to take the things that are important to me and represent them in a shoe, in a women’s shoe at that. I’ve been with adidas for 11 years … It’s just fitting to be with adidas because they really care about me as an athlete and what I care about and to see that on a shoe is really special to me.”

The Parker Pro Bounce PE has some new adidas technology in it and features flexible cushioning and a premium mesh upper that offers stability in key places while remaining lightweight. A marbled outsole is finished with details unique to parker, and Summit’s words are integrated in the shoe’s bottom as well as the insert.

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Parker, who signed on with Turner as an NBA on TNT analyst on Wednesday, often talks about the “wave” of attention women’s basketball is getting. She’s proud to be a part of that wave, and though this isn’t the first PE for Parker, she said having a shoe that’s truly her own is important for the trajectory of the women’s game.

“I definitely think things are moving in the right direction. There are so many women out there that play sports and play basketball, ” Parker said. “A lot of people think this is my first PE but I’ve been with adidas and first had a PE nine, 10 years ago. So this is a wave that’s been forming for a while, and I’m really proud.”