The NBA 2K franchise may be the most popular basketball video game series on the market, but NBA Live is the most progressive.
On Thursday, EA Sports announced that when NBA Live 18 is released later this year it will include every WNBA team and player.
This has never happened before.
“We are delighted to collaborate and make history with EA as NBA LIVE 18 becomes the first video game to feature the WNBA’s full roster of teams and players,” said WNBA President Lisa Borders. “With EA’s expertise and ingenuity, the game will provide a terrific platform to showcase the players and the league, enabling fans to experience the WNBA in a new, exciting way.”
Two years ago, EA Sports showed the ladies some love when FIFA2016 added 12 women’s soccer national teams to the biggest soccer video game on the market.
What EA Sports is doing is dope. And the addition of the WNBA to the NBA Live franchise is a sign of inclusiveness that’s greatly needed right now.
For certain generations, video games are the ultimate approval of “making it.” Millions of kids grow up playing video games every day with their favorite teams or players, hoping to one day be good enough to see their image and likeness on a game console.
For guys, this idea has been true since the 1990s, but women were completely left out of the picture.
That is until now.
Women will now know how it feels to see themselves in a video game, and a generation of little girls will grow up knowing that the possibility of being a cover athlete is possible.
“On behalf of the players, we believe that combining technology and entertainment is a powerful way to not only recognize and value our brand of basketball but to also increase fan connectivity and engagement,” said Nneka Ogwumike, WNBPA President/LA Sparks.
The news of the announcement also comes at an ironic time, as Monday was Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. And while women of all colors are affected by pay gap issues in this country, the WNBA is almost 70-percent Black.
According to a 2016 article by Forbes, during the 2015 season, the minimum WNBA salary was $ 38,000, while the maximum was $ 109,500. Compare that to the NBA in which the minimum salary for that season was $ 525,093, while the maximum was $ 16.407 million.
While the NBA makes a bulk of its money off lucrative TV deals, according to the article, the highest paid WNBA player in 2015 made about one-fifth of what the lowest-paid player made in the NBA.
There has to be a better solution.
While I don’t have an answer for the wage-gap issue besides, “pay women the same as men,” I do want to applaud EA Sports for their inclusiveness.
If you do a quick Twitter search on the subject, you may see a few negative comments about the announcement. But sadly, that’s the world we live in. Especially when it comes to inclusion and progressiveness concerning women.
Some men just aren’t fans of the WNBA, but I am.
And when this game comes out, I’m going to enjoy dunking on people with Brittney Griner and getting buckets with Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi.
Check ball, ladies.