Candace Parker, the veteran star of the W.N.B.A.’s Los Angeles Sparks, has moved into a two-bedroom apartment with her 11-year-old daughter, Lailaa, in order to play. To make it work, Parker said she had to piece together child care help from family members over the 40-plus days she expected to be in sporting lockdown.
But there was never any question, Parker said, that Lailaa would come. “She had her bags packed before I did,” Parker said. “It’s always been that way where I’m better when she’s here. I don’t think the Sparks would want me without her.”
Terri Jackson, the president of the W.N.B.A. players’ union, said that as the plans for a Florida bubble were being drawn up, the league made it clear that it would give priority to mothers, offering them their choice of housing and taking care of some costs that other players are expected to cover.
That was a significant step forward, Jackson said.
“If you took a historical look across the league, it made you ask: If this is a women’s sports league, where are the moms?” she said. “You wonder, how many players that are looking to become moms have we lost?
“We should have more Candaces — and Lailaas — in the league.”
Unlike the W.N.B.A., which is in its third decade, the N.W.S.L. is still finding its financial footing in its eighth season, and salaries are still comparatively low — $20,000 to $60,000 a year.
But mothers in the league praised the proactive moves taken by the new commissioner, Lisa Baird, who took charge of the N.W.S.L. in February after it had been leaderless for several years. Baird is also a mother, with a college-age daughter who, on the league’s shoestring budget, has been helping with child care inside the league’s bubble in Herriman, Utah, near Salt Lake City.