Candace Parker becomes first female cover athlete in NBA2K history; Luka Doncic joins her

·3-min read

Candace Parker is the first WNBA player and female athlete to grace the cover of the NBA2K franchise. The forward for the Chicago Sky, who are +800 to win the title with BetMGM, and two-time MVP is on the Gamestop Exclusive edition of NBA2K22, which is now available for preorder. 

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Parker is joined as a cover athlete by the Luka Doncic of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. The 22-year-old is on the standard edition. 

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The 75th anniversary edition features "three legends of their era" in the Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant and retired stars Dirk Nowitzki and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Nowitzki and Doncic are the first Mavericks to be on the cover of the game, per the Dallas Morning News. 

Parker represents WNBA on NBA2K cover 

Candace Parker is the first WNBA player on the cover of NBA2K. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Candace Parker is the first WNBA player on the cover of NBA2K. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The NBA2K franchise is celebrating the 25th anniversary edition of the WNBA with the exclusive cover. Parker is in her first season back home in Chicago after 13 years with the Los Angeles Sparks that included the 2016 championship. She was voted WNBA Finals MVP. 

“The WNBA has a loyal and growing fan base who wants to see their teams and players represented in basketball’s most iconic video game,” Alfie Brody, 2K’s VP of global marketing strategy, told Sportico. “Representation is important and by featuring a female athlete on the cover, it signals that NBA 2K is for anyone.”

TV ratings for WNBA games continue to rise and the product is available in more places and streaming services than ever. The female gaming community is also large and ever-growing and many WNBA stars are gamers themselves. 

WNBA continues to grow in 2K game

The WNBA was not a part of the popular video game franchise, which started in 1999, until the version that was released in 2019. Gamers could only play exhibition games with their favorite WNBA teams or play out a season. The game expanded its offerings for the 2021 edition with WNBA franchise mode, MyPlayer mode and 3v3 multiplayer online mode. 

“Three years ago, we were put in the game,” Parker told Sportico. “[The reaction] speaks to how much it was needed. Everybody talks about the little girls, but it’s important for boys to be able to see women’s basketball in the video game, too. I always said I wanted to leave the game better than I came into it. To be part of this [2K] process… is doing just that.”

Parker is a superstar in the game but also has broad appeal and is seen regularly on NBA on TNT as an analyst. Her story is well told and basketball fans of almost any level of interest will easily recognize her on the cover. 

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