Candace Parker to be on the cover of NBA 2K22: A step in the right direction?

Candace Parker with the Chicago Sky
Candace Parker with the Chicago Sky

2K Sports has just announced that Candace Parker will be on the alternate cover of NBA 2K22. She is the first female athlete to feature on the cover of NBA 2K and many believe it is a vital step to improve women's representation in sports.

Parker will be featured on the 'GameStop Exclusive' game's cover for the WNBA 25th Anniversary special edition, which is due for release on September 10 this year. The main regular edition game has Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic as the cover athlete.

Candace Parker recently spoke about how much making the cover of NBA 2K22 means for her, and said:

"I grew up a video game 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...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."

The Chicago Sky forward reiterated it means much more to her now than it would have when she first joined the WNBA in 2008.

"I think when you're young and experience these type of things, you're onto the next thing...As I've gotten older, I've really savored the moment," said Candance Parker.

Candace Parker played 13 seasons with the LA Sparks and won a championship with the franchise in 2016, earning the Finals MVP in the process. She is a two-time WNBA MVP and a six-time All-Star. Parker was the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year and has been a WNBA peak performer thrice in her career.

A peak performer is anyone who leads the league in either scoring, rebounds or assists and Candance Parker led the WNBA in rebounding three times. She is easily one of the best WNBA players ever and now plays for the Chicago Sky.

Candace Parker as the first female athlete on the cover of NBA 2K is a big step for women empowerment in sports

Candace Parker with the LA Sparks in the 2017 WNBA Finals
Candace Parker with the LA Sparks in the 2017 WNBA Finals

Candace Parker on the cover of a major sports video game such as NBA 2K is huge for women's sports. NBA 2K has sold over 100 million units worldwide and has been nominated for multiple awards, being the biggest basketball video game in the world.

Having a female athlete on the cover opens up opportunities for other women athletes and WNBA players, who have been pushing for equal pay for years.

Candace Parker also spoke about how much this means for the WNBA and women's basketball in general, saying:

"I think it's a benchmark of women's basketball for sure. I think most importantly it speaks to visibility and how important it is and how important the WNBA is...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 benefiting the WNBA."

She was chosen to be the first female cover over several other choices. The NBA 2K sports organization could have picked Sue Bird or Diana Taurasi but chose Candace Parker to be the first WNBA player on their cover. The Chicago Sky star admitted she is humbled by the honor.

"It means a lot to me...I'm a fan of basketball. I eat, sleep and breathe basketball. I'm a historian within basketball...I commentate basketball. I play video games. It was really the perfect storm because there are a lot of other people well-deserving of this, and I know that," Candace Parker signed off.

Seeing a WNBA player on the cover of 2K22 will inspire several young female athletes to pursue a career in professional sports. Candace Parker has already revealed that she always wanted to be like the great players on the cover of 2K growing up.

Female athletes around the world will watch their friends and family play a famous game with a world-class female athlete on the cover and that means a lot.

Also Read: What are the key differences between rules in Olympic Basketball and the NBA?

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Edited by Parimal