WNBA player Candace Parker has a new accolade to add to her collection. For the first time in history Parker will be featured as the first WNBA player on the cover of NBA2K22. This is a cherry on top of an already impressive year. Parker earned Defensive Player of the year honors at the end of 2020. She then decided to part ways with the Los Angeles Sparks after 13 years. Parker made her mark on the Sparks franchise. She is ranked 2nd in scoring, rebounds, and blocks behind the great Lisa Leslie. Ahead of free agency Parker left the Sparks to join her hometown squad the Chicago Sky.
Parker being featured on the cover of 2K is not her first time making history. In fact, she was the first player in the history of the WNBA to be named Rookie of the Year and MVP in a single season. “I grew up a video game fanatic, that’s what I did, to the point where my brothers would give me the fake controller when I was younger where I think I was playing and I wasn’t,” Parker explained. “All I wanted to do was just be like them. As a kid growing up, you dream of having your own shoe and dream of being in a video game. Those are an athlete as a kid’s dreams. To be able to experience that, I don’t take it lightly.”
Parker, now two-time WNBA MVP and 2016 Finals MVP, will grace the cover of the WNBA 25th Anniversary Special Edition NBA 2K.
“I think it’s a benchmark of women’s basketball for sure,” Parker said in talking about the honor to the Associated Press. “I think most importantly it speaks to visibility and how important it is and how important the WNBA is,” Parker said. “Everyone is looking at it that it’s impacting little girls, but it’s also impacting little boys and young men and young women and men and women. I think our game is different than the NBA; now it’s embracing that fact. Now, more than ever, fans want to follow the athlete. Through social media, through video games, it’s adding and benefitting the WNBA.”
Parker also tweeted out, “Extremely proud and humbled to be the first female cover athlete in the history of @NBA2K.
I’m honored to work with a company that’s investing in women and betting on us to succeed. I’m hopeful there will be many more badass females to follow [strong arm emojis]”
This WNBA 25th Anniversary Special Edition NBA2K is exclusive to GameStop. A woman being featured on the cover of this game is a small step towards visibility and representation. There are so many incredible women athletes and here’s hoping that this type of inclusion becomes the new normal.
“I think it’s a signal and a sign of the momentum around our players, our players’ story,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said. “Candace has been such a great representative of the league — what she does in broadcast, what she does as a mom. I just think as a role model, I get chills just standing up here talking about her on that cover.”
Parker, who is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, will be working as a commentator during the medal rounds at the Tokyo Games.
“I had an opportunity to go earlier. For me, I wanted to be with my team as long as I can,” Parker said. “Wanted to do both, and this was a great opportunity to me. I remember Craig Sager interviewing me and it was unbelievable. The broadcast does amplify the game. To be a part of the experience of the Olympics, I’m really excited about.”