When NBA 2K22 comes out later this fall, you'll see a new face on the cover of the game: WNBA legend and Chicago Sky forward Candace Parker. The 14-year veteran will be the first woman to ever be a cover athlete for the NBA 2K series.
It's a cool milestone for women in sports, and means even more to Parker, who is a self-professed video game "fanatic."
"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 said. "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."
In addition to Parker, there will be NBA 2K22 covers with Dallas Mavericks phenom Luka Doncic. Meanwhile, a special edition of the game that celebrates the league's 75th anniversary will feature the likes of Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
"It means a lot to me," Parker said. "I'm a fan of basketball. I eat, sleep and breathe basketball. I'm a historian within basketball. I am a fan of 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."
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On the court, Parker is once again among the league's best players. In her first season with the Sky, she's putting up 13.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Prior to this season, only five other players in WNBA history have averaged at least 13/8/3/1 for an entire campaign.
At the Olympic break, Parker's Sky sit in fifth place at 10-10, and the difference with and without her is astounding. With Parker on the floor, the Sky are 9-3. But due to an ankle injury earlier in the season, she missed nearly an entire month and the team went 1-7 without her.