Dana Evans takes care of business, on and off the pitch

Credit cards can be tricky, and opening one comes with all kinds of responsibilities.

A quick Google search brings up page after page of advice, such as “Ten things to know before getting a credit card” and “Tips to boost your credit.”

For the average youngster aspiring to establish the perfect credit score, such advice from financial websites on the Internet could be a good starting point. But Sky point guard Dana Evans has relied on veteran Candace Parker as a top source in her rookie season.

“We were in Minnesota for the single elimination [playoff] game,” Evans said. “We were talking after practice, and Candace started talking to me about credit and the importance of opening a credit card.”

Parker dropped a ton of knowledge on Evans about the benefits of building credit at a young age. It was just one of many lessons about life, business, and financial success that Evans learned from “Momma Candace.”

Evans gave Parker that nickname during the 2021 season because of all the life skills the two-time WNBA champion, businesswoman and NBA analyst passed on to her teammates.

Evans, a native of Gary, Indiana, graduated from Louisville with a degree in sports administration and a minor in communications. She was always thinking about ways to succeed outside of basketball and had many conversations with her father about combining her love of fashion and beauty products with her talent on the court.

Evans has since made his dream come true by signing partnership deals with OpulenceMD Beauty and Palm, a tech company that sells headphones and cellphones. She is also pursuing opportunities with companies in Chicago.

WNBA players have a predisposition to be versatile. They have to live off the wages they earn. Most players compete overseas to supplement their WNBA salary, and others develop their personal brands into a business.

“I remember at the time you saw sports adverts, and they had actors portraying athletes,” said Sky coach and chief executive James Wade. “I would much rather see athletes being athletes.”

CarMax released an ad last spring featuring WNBA star Sue Bird and NBA star Stephen Curry. It worked so well that the company restarted it with Parker in the fall.

It’s a challenge to go a month without Parker announcing a new brand partnership, a TED talk, or, in the most recent case, a documentary she’ll help produce. While Parker’s success is tied to years of experience, players like Evans are watching and applying the lessons.

Since the NCAA’s name, image and likeness rule was implemented in June, college athletes’ personal brands have led to lucrative partnership deals. According to Opendorse, the top sports for NIL compensation through December were soccer (45.7%), women’s basketball (26.2%) and men’s basketball (18%).

Wade said he wanted to see WNBA players get the same attention and success that NIL brought to college athletes.

Evans is currently playing abroad in Hungary. She suffered a partial tear to her abdomen and is expected to be back on the pitch in the coming weeks.

During her time abroad, she has been committed to improving her defense and her ability to finish on the edge. With Courtney Vandersloot’s future with the Sky uncertain, Evans hopes she has a few more years to learn from the WNBA’s top tier general.

Evans’ advice to young players on and off the pitch is simple.

“Watch the vets,” she said.

About Hannah Schaeffer

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