Aces guard and avid video gamer Sugar Rodgers used to prefer playing with the Golden State Warriors in the popular basketball video game franchise NBA2K.
“Just because they shoot a lot,” she said. “And I can shoot.”
She might have a new team of choice this fall.
Her own team.
Rodgers, the Aces and the 11 other WNBA teams will be included in the newest release of the game for the first time, the franchise announced Thursday. They will be available for use in Play Now and Season modes, allowing users to experience game play and graphics tailored specifically around the women’s game.
“There’s a lot of young females who play the game, so to be able to see females in the game, it means a lot,” said Rodgers, a longtime 2K fan who began playing the game more seriously during the WNBA offseason. “Especially to the young females coming up.”
WNBA teams and players had been available since 2017 in 2K’s competitor, NBA Live. But the 2K franchise is considerably more popular and had yet to build women into the game. So its game developers toured the WNBA cities this summer — visiting Las Vegas on June 24 — and scanned players into the game in preparation for its scheduled Sept. 6 release.
Pixelgun Studios provides graphics for 2K, and producer James Raymond and his team traveled with a trailer equipped with more than 130 tiny cameras that surround the athletes — generating still images used to produce playable avatars.
“The WNBA has been amazing. … Going around and meeting these incredible people in the WNBA, hearing their amazing stories. It’s been a real pleasure,” Raymond said in June after scanning Aces forward Dearica Hamby. “Female players can play as their favorite woman. It’s a great level of inclusion”
The game rates players on a scale from 1-100, and Seattle Storm star and reigning MVP Breanna Stewart was tabbed with a 95 rating — comparable to that of Golden State standout Stephen Curry. Los Angeles Sparks star Candace Parker received a 93.
The rest of the ratings weren’t disclosed, so Rodgers and other players will have to wait for the game’s release.
— Elizabeth Cambage (@ecambage) August 8, 2019
“I’m excited for it to come out,” Rodgers said. “Tell 2K to send me an early copy of it so I can grind.”
Who: Connecticut Sun at Aces
When: 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: Mandalay Bay Events Center
TV: KVMY-12, ESPN2
Radio: KWWN (1100 AM, 100.9 FM)
Tickets: Starting at $20 on axs.com
About the Aces (15-9): Liz Cambage had 28 points and 10 rebounds Friday and averages 15.5 points and 8.0 rebounds. Kayla McBride is averaging 14.5 points and shooting 45.9 percent on 3-pointers.
About the Sun (16-7): MVP candidate Jonquel Jones averages 15.4 points and 10.4 rebounds. Courtney Williams scores 11.8 points per game and Jasmine Thomas 11.4. Connecticut defeated the Aces 80-74 on June 2.