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Maya Moore: 5 Female Athletes Who Deserved a Jordan Deal More

Sam WestmorelandFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2011

Maya Moore: 5 Female Athletes Who Deserved a Jordan Deal More

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 3:  Maya Moore #23 of the Connecticut Huskies shoots between the defense of Natalie Achonwa #11 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Devereaux Peters #14 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first half during the 2011 NCAA Wome
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Maya Moore made big headlines yesterday after the women's college basketball megastar became the first women's basketball player to ink a deal with Michael Jordan's Jumpman brand of apparel and shoes.

    Given Moore's star power, the move comes as little surprise. The former UConn star was the dominant force in women's college basketball for four years, winning two titles, making four Final Four appearances and becoming the first four-time first team All-American in the history of the sport. She also scored more than 3,000 points in her career with the Huskies.

    But has she really earned the right to ink a deal with Jordan's prestigious brand? After all, it took Dwyane Wade several years of NBA success before he was considered worthy, and Moore has yet to accomplish anything at the professional level.

    In fact, we can think of five current and former athletes who are more deserving of the Jordan deal than Moore.

5. Candace Parker

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    PHOENIX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Candace Parker #3 of the Los Angeles Sparks puts up a shot over Tangela Smith #50 and Cappie Pondexter #23 of the Phoenix Mercury in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 WNBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on A
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The last "next big thing" in women's college hoops, Parker ran roughshod over the NCAA basketball world for her four years at Tennessee.

    A versatile, phenomenal athlete, Parker dunked several times over the course of her collegiate career and netted just about every award and achievement she could under legendary coach Pat Summitt.

    Parker's success in college has translated quite well to the pros, where the 24-year-old averaged 20.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 2.2 assists through the first 10 games last year before missing the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury.

    Given the fact that Parker was the first woman to dunk in a collegiate game and the first woman to dunk twice in a collegiate game, doesn't she deserve a contract with Jordan's company?

4. Cheyenne Woods

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    Tiger Woods' niece Cheyenne Woods is turning into a dominant golfer in her own right. She just ran away with the ACC championship and finished a solid fifth in the regional finals to earn herself and Wake Forest a berth in the national championships next month.

    The 21-year-old has a beautiful swing reminiscent of Tiger's original and has some of the best power of any women's golfer you'll find.

    Her short game is improving, but Woods' stock is most certainly on the rise. On top of that, she already wears Nike apparel, so jumping to Jordan's brand wouldn't be that big of a leap.

    Something tells me Jordan, who's a golf fanatic himself, would relish the chance to nab one of women's golf's burgeoning young stars.

3. Mia Hamm

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    NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 29:  Member of the gold medal winning U.S. Women's National Team at the 1996 Olympic Games, Mia Hamm,  attends the HBO Sports Premiere of 'Dare to Dream' at Loews Cineplex E-Walk Theater 12 November 29, 2005 in New York City.  (Photo b
    Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

    For those who don't remember Mia Hamm, allow me to refresh your memory. The now retired women's soccer player was one of the world's best players, keying the U.S. national team to a period of unparalleled dominance in the 1990s and early 2000s.

    Hamm was the best goal scorer in the world at the peak of her powers, netting 158 times in 275 games. She was the dominant female athlete of her generation and one of the greatest soccer players of her time.

    Mia was a gifted athlete who would likely have excelled at whatever sport she settled on, and given that she shared several endorsement deals with Jordan (like Gatorade), a partnership with his brand would make perfect sense.

Sheryl Swoopes

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    ATHENS - AUGUST 20:  Sheryl Swoopes #7 of the USA moves the ball against Spain in the women's basketball preliminary game on August 20, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Indoor Arena of the Helliniko Olympic Complex in Athens, Greece
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Swoopes might be the greatest women's basketball player of all time, the kind of dynamic talent that only comes around once in a generation.

    Despite a rocky collegiate career, Swoopes came to prominence at the 1996 Summer Olympics, leading the women's national team to the gold medal.

    From there, she jumped to the WNBA, where she embarked on a 13-year career, dominating the game even as she moved past her prime. She was released by the Seattle Storm in 2009, but there have been reports that she's re-signed with the Tulsa Shock to play next season at the ripe old age of 40.

    The slashing, speedy forward was frequently referred to as the "female Michael Jordan" over the course of her career, so who better to represent the Jumpman brand?

1. Serena Williams

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 03:  Serena Williams of USA returns a shot during the Ladies Singles Final Match against Vera Zvonareva of Russia on Day Twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 3, 20
    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Williams remains the dominant force on the WTA Tour, having emerged as the best player in a generation. When she's focused on her game, no one can beat her, and her career ranks as one of the most impressive in tennis history.

    The 13-time Grand Slam winner has no equal on tour, and while she has some issues with focus, she's without a doubt the best athlete on tour.

    She's got the athletic skills to be great at any sport she tries, and given her dominance of the WTA Tour, if there's someone outside of the basketball world who deserves a Jumpman contract, it's Serena. She's the most accomplished female athlete of our time and has embarked on an unprecedented run of success that even Moore's collegiate career can't approach.

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