Candace Parker makes history with NBA 2K cover, caps year of milestones

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Chicago Sky star Candace Parker has earned a variety of accolades over her 14-year WNBA career. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year can now add an appearance on the cover of NBA 2K22 to the list.

By gracing this year's cover of the hoops video game, which will be released on Sept. 10, Parker is recognized as the first woman to receive the honor. Parker's version will be for the WNBA's 25th anniversary special edition.

"I think it's a benchmark of women's basketball for sure," Parker told the Associated Press about her NBA 2K opportunity. "I think most importantly it speaks to visibility and how important it is and how important the WNBA is...Now more than ever, fans want to follow the athlete. Through social media, through video games, it's adding and benefiting the WNBA."

Parker's cover appearance caps an incredible calendar year for the future Naismith Hall of Famer. She signed with her hometown team last offseason following a stellar 13-year stint with the Los Angeles Sparks, with whom the two-time MVP (2013, 2008) won two WNBA championships. In honor of her accomplishment, here's a look back at her year for the books.

September 24, 2020

On this date, Parker was named Defensive Player of the Year for the first time in her career. She was one of five players to average at least one block and one steal per game last season. The Sparks finished third in defensive efficiency in 2020, marking the fifth straight year the team ranked third or better.

Thus far with Parker in the fold, Chicago has improved to third in defensive efficiency this season after ranking eighth in 2020. The Sparks have regressed to sixth.

February 1, 2021

Parker's time with Los Angeles came to an end once she agreed to a two-year deal with Chicago. Born in Naperville, Illinois, she left the Sparks ranked second in franchise scoring (5,684 points), rebounds (2,902) and blocks (545), trailing only Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie in these categories.

In 2008, Parker became the only player in league history to win MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season.

June 12, 2021

Noted for her defensive prowess and interior presence, Parker is also one of the best playmakers in league history. In just her third game with Chicago, she reached 12th place in all-time WNBA assists. Parker entered the season needing only eight dimes to pass Hall of Famers Teresa Weatherspoon and Dawn Staley on this list.

The 2016 Finals MVP entered the All-Star break needing 157 points to become the 12th player in league history to reach 6,000 for a career.

July 2021

Along with becoming the first woman to grace the 2K cover, Parker also graced the cover of SLAM 233 in her hometown Sky uniform. In an interview for the edition, she spoke on her memories of growing up in Naperville with her family, memories on music and her initial reservations with picking up basketball as a hobby.

On the court, Parker earned the sixth All-Star selection of her storied career. She appears to have the quite future in coaching and commentary.