Hoopsworld.com completed their list of the 55 "most influential leaders in basketball" and both Donna Orender and Candace Parker made the list.
54 - Donna Orender, President, WNBA: While the WNBA is far from a mainstream hit, the league is growing and awareness of the brand and the sport continues to grow. While the women's game is nowhere near as popular as the men's game, the WNBA's influence on the female sports fans is significant and advertisers and sponsors continue to support the league.
52 - Candace Parker, Player, Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA): She isn't quite LeBron James, but Parker is a star and her influence over the women's game is profound. She is extremely marketable, and a very solid basketball player. As the face of the WNBA she will be a key component to growing the WNBA fan base into a more mainstream product.Obviously, the fact that ESPN is #2 on the list has some bearing on that, if you ask me.
2 - George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN – As the dominant sports brand in media ESPN controls the message. Bodenheimer, in turn, controls ESPN, so you do the math. ESPN is the ultimate kingmaker, their experts are experts by virtue of being with ESPN, and they own the broadcasting rights to so much of the sports landscape they can control and influence what is seen and heard across a variety of mediums. ESPN's influence on who is popular, who is not and what teams and situations are news shapes every aspect of the game. To many if ESPN reports it, it is real. ESPN's flagship program, SportsCenter, is one of the most-watched sports broadcasts anywhere. Between their news-making ability and broadcasting agreements no entity has more influence on the game than Bodenheimer's ESPN.Though women's basketball coverage has gotten better, certainly the way ESPN covers the WNBA will continue to have an affect on its mainstream interest.
Surprisingly, Rebkell did not make the list.