NBA 2K Announces WNBA Players, A River Of Sexism Follows

NBA 2K Announces WNBA Players, A River Of Sexism Follows
NBA 2K20

Yesterday, when WNBA star Breanna Stewart let her fans know she’ll be in NBA 2K20, coming out September 6, the top response asked whether the basketball game, which has a MyCareer mode, has a MyKitchen mode, too.

The 20-year-old basketball sim is finally getting female basketball pros, publisher Take Two announced yesterday. “It’s just as important for girls and boys to be able to see females as role models,” said Los Angeles Sparks player Candace Parker in a new NBA 2K20 trailer.

While a lot of fans agree and are expressing an overflowing enthusiasm for the memorialisation of these athletes’ talents, a contingent of oversensitive people are spewing vitriol all over NBA 2K social media.

Here’s one of the most popular memes, which NBA 2K subreddit moderators told Kotaku they’ve removed many times over the last day:


“As soon as the news dropped, there was a vocal portion of the community who was strongly against it,” said the head NBA 2K subreddit moderator, who goes by the online handle Yyy2k. “Some had reasons like how this was an unneeded feature that took time away from development of ‘more important’ things. Some went for sexist comments/jokes/memes making fun of women and WNBA players.”

He’s modded dozens of these over the last couple of hours, he says, in part because “Reddit and Twitter are both places where memes can trend in an instant and so far the ‘cool’ thing to do has been to make sexist comments”.

“Why are females in an NBA game?” and “This is a L we all know girls can’t hoop” are some of the comments below NBA 2K’s trailer on Twitter. Several fans have made the “MyKitchen” joke or other jokes about pregnancy in the MyCareer mode. A lot of men are loudly and emphatically complaining that they “don’t care”.

At least a dozen across social media platforms are saying that resources were unnecessarily dedicated to WNBA’ inclusion when they could have been spent on server reliability.

The comments section below 2K’s official blog post about the news is rife with comments about how, to preserve “realism”, the WNBA players can’t play on par with the male ones.

One of the other NBA 2K subreddit moderators, who goes by MrPeterson15, says he also moderates a subreddit for NBA Live, EA’s basketball game, which in 2017 also got WNBA players. “The reception was quite positive,” he said, adding that “Almost all Live players are either disgruntled former 2K players, or players who play both.”

Both subreddit mods are delighted by how readily community members tip them off to misogynistic posts, with Yyy2k noting that “There’s a pretty fine line between not liking an aspect about the game and just straight sexism”.

And yet, NBA 2K’s Twitter, Facebook and Reddit are aflame. It seems fuelled by derision for the WNBA itself, which is less financially successful than the NBA, and a dismissive attitude for women’s athleticism. Comments about how WNBA stars rarely dunk and therefore won’t be as exciting in the video game were common on the NBA 2K Facebook announcement.

Reached for comment, a 2K spokesperson told Kotaku, “Our franchise has always been rooted in capturing the true essence of basketball – it doesn’t matter who is playing – if you love the game, you love the game. As true lovers of basketball, we take great pride in bringing the women’s game to the millions of NBA 2K fans around the globe.”

Over on Twitter, another wave swelled on the opposite coast as the haters. Under WNBA star Candace Parker’s announcement, one post echoed several others: “We need a WNBA video game!!!!”


  • Well I do agree that they need an WNBA game it would shut everyone up but it will flop hard so they kind of have no choice but to add it to an already existing game.

    Also the kitchen jokes are funny don’t get all victimy over it, there was a joke I read on twitter in response to a bullshit article about “how to make your ‘man cave’more feminine” most liked comment “turn it into a kitchen” that comment was by a woman, it was a joke and it was funny.

    • Lol.

      Funny until you realise these jokes come from entrenched views that objectify women and belittle them to be nothing more than the tools.

      How weak do you have to be to be offended by female athletes?

      • Bet you still laugh at all the “useless/dumb dad” tropes that are a common gag in sitcoms these days. *cough* Modern Family. They come from entrenched views that males are incompetent at raising a family without the aid of a woman,

        How weak do you have to be to be offended by a joke? Funny or not.

        • Well considering that most shows writers rooms are overwhelming staffed by male writers it’s really not an equivalency.

          Also I haven’t watched that past the first season as it was garbage but none of the men were incomplete when it came to raising their families, even Phil? was a little clueless about life stuff but he seemed to be a warm caring parent with a good job etc.
          That’s hardly a negative stereotype.

          • Still a negative stereotype being furthered for a laugh. Whether or not you think it’s funny.

            That’s like saying an Arab Muslim can say that Muslims are terrorists and it being ok and not furthering a negative stereotype. Or an Asian saying that Asian drivers are bad, etc etc. Doesn’t matter who says it or writes it, a negative stereotype is still a negative stereotype. True?

            As the seasons go on, he’s still a lovable doofus who does what he can for his family. But he gets more and more useless and dumb. Remember the trope is that they are dumb and incompetent, you can still be a warm caring parent, they are not mutually exclusive .

          • There’s a traditional rule in comedy: don’t punch down. Context is critical in a joke, and part of that context is the social dynamic of the person making the joke and the person or group targeted by that joke. That dynamic is why some people can make fun of some things that others can’t.

            Ignoring that dynamic is how you end up with people naively thinking you can substitute one for another (eg. ‘Asian makes joke about Asians’ vs ‘white guy makes joke about Asians’) and the outcome should be the same. Of course it doesn’t work that way, any more than swapping sugar for salt works in cooking because superficially ‘they’re both white granules’.

            You can still make a sponge cake with salt, ignoring the context of why salt and sugar are different, but the result is something most people are going to find not tasty. And you can still make a joke punching down, ignoring the context of why punching down and punching up are different, but the result is something most people are going to find not funny.

            It sounds like you don’t find ‘incompetent dad’ jokes funny, and that’s perfectly fine – you don’t have to like sugary sponge cake either. But don’t pretend ‘incompetent dad’ and ‘women belong in the kitchen’ are the same kind of thing any more than sugar and salt are.

          • So as a straight POC male, according to whatever arbitrary scaling system you use. Who can I make fun of? Straights, whites, POC and men. Anyone else? Or am not low enough on this ladder of oppression?

            I don’t subscribe to the feminist doctrine of “prejudice plus power” bullcrap, that you clearly do. Blacks can be racist to whites, women can be sexist to men. Simple as that. Stop using a stipulative definition as the general definition.

            No need to comment again, consider this your brick wall

          • No problem, I’ll leave this response here for anyone else following the conversation.

            First, let’s get the straw man in the middle there out of the way. Nobody here has said women can’t be sexist or black people can’t be racist. That’s a misdirection that has nothing to do with whether a joke is punching up or down.

            There’s no ‘scaling system’, what constitutes up vs down is determined by context. Ignoring context leads to false equivalency arguments like above. The only people who think you can drop in ‘t-shirt and shorts’ as an equivalent replacement for ‘polar parka’ in the context of an Antarctic trip are people that are ignoring that context. Same applies here.

            Professional comedy is hard. Understanding the context around what you can and can’t make jokes from is core to being successfully funny. ‘Jokes’ like the ones in the article are from people who either don’t understand context, or naively think it doesn’t apply to them because they’ve rationalised, with fallacious reasoning like above, that things are equivalent when they’re not.

          • Who can I make fun of? Straights, whites, POC and men. Anyone else? Or am not low enough on this ladder of oppression?

            There’s still plenty to choose from. Here’s just a few off the top of my head: Rich people, politicians, lawyers, the monarchy, the US, doctors, dentists, the cultural elite, the sporting elite… I’m sure you could think of many more!

            Glad to help 🙂

          • @spinout what if that rich person is trans? What if that politician is a woman? What if the doctor is a Muslim? Etc etc, identity politics man… They’re stupid

        • I don’t laugh at those jokes, no.
          They’re not funny.

          Gender-typing jokes only display the limitations of your world view.

          If your immediate response to female athletes is ridicule, you’re obviously too weak to have your narrow world view challenged by reality.

      • Kind of like jokes about African American’s made by African American’s, as in jokes using the N word, guess nobody is allowed to find those jokes funny becuase the N word was used to objectify and belittle them to be nothing more than literal tools.

        There are many levels of humour it’s unfortunate you don’t understand that.

        How am I offended by female athletes exactly? what part of my comment makes it seem I’m offended by female athletes?

    • The kitchen jokes aren’t funny. There’s no wit or cleverness to them. Just lazy, stale tropes that appeal to emotionally underdeveloped knuckle staggers.

    • yeah like, totally!? I like, heard this joke this one time – so funny! – and it was like, totally sexist but also, you know, like, totally funny too? but also it was like, a woman, you know, like, making the joke, so yeah it’s totally fine to make sexist jokes! becuz she a woman and she made joke – sexist joke! – and i thought it was funny and also she a woman so it fine. true story

    • Something a lot of people don’t get is that many jokes are funny because they are twisted or absurd. we know they are bullshit. that’s why it’s funny. we recognise no one in their right mind would take the absurd one seriously and the twisted ones we laugh because the only other option would be getting depressed.

      • There are things that are haha funny
        (a joke from a child) or roll your eyes funny (dad jokes) Lol funny (Bill Burr) can’t breath funny(Jimmy Carr) and this which is Ha funny, it’s shock humour like seeing a guy nut himself I’m going to laugh then after be like are you OK man.

    • lol you got totally wrecked with downvotes i wonder if these people realise that their virtue signalling gets them nowhere, nobody is checking who you downvoted on Kotaku so how do they get rewarded beyond the initial “i’m such a great person”?

      • Are you so far gone that you see something as simple as a dissenting downvote as virtue signalling? I think you need to take a step back and reset your baseline assumptions.

      • Hi it looks like you were confronted with evidence that should have changed your assumptions, but instead of updating them you doubled down on them! Would you like some help with basic reasoning?

    • One paper you should read is thomae 13, entitled “Why did the woman cross the road? The effect of sexist humor on men’s rape proclivity.”

      So no, objectively they’re not harmless jokes!

  • The kitchen joke isn’t funny, it just isn’t. It’s the most overused “joke” gamers think of when a girl decides to jump onto voice chat and they say “you suck at this game, go back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich”. The joke isn’t funny, it’s sexist and you’re a sexist if you say or like that joke. Take a good look at yourself and remember that you there are girls and women in your life and shouldn’t have to be treated that way, and the women of the WNBA don’t deserve this for being included in NBA2K. It’s and a feature in a game, you don’t have to play it. And if you think a basketball game that gets a minor update every year, should have spent resources on something else then you are being pretty silly. They knew they wanted to include the WNBA and to them it was a meaningful use of resources to add it in.

    • Good thing jokes aren’t objective, they are subjective.

      And no, just because you think a joke is funny, it doesn’t make you anything.

      Or a gay man is sexist for not finding women sexually attractive.

      • Wow… You’re stretching so far here to stay in denile of the fact that you clearly have some sexist views. Sexual orientation is a personal subject, it has no way of offending someone unless they are completely insane or a bigot themself. So a gay person being gay isn’t sexist, it has nothing to do with anyone other than themself…

        In comparison, laughing at a joke which is based on sexist tropes like ‘women belong in the kitchen’ is pretty clearly showing your attitudes towards all women, so it does have an effect on others.

        • You claim that I am stretching, and then have the nerve to say that laughing at a joke based on “sexist tropes”, means that I must obviously hate all women.

          Gee whizz, you must not laugh at all about anything for fear of being offensive to literally anything and/or anyone. Life of the party right there.

          You’re an absolute clown mate.

        • Bruh, I laugh at horrible jokes because we all know they are full of shit. no one laughs at women being told work in a kitchen because they’re sexist. they laugh because the idea of telling someone to work in a kitchen is stupid.

          A lot of jokes are funny because they are absurdly stupid.

          • Wow, that’s so sweet; “I know that joke was offensive to you but it’s ok, I found it funny not because it belittled you but for a totally different reason. So shut up about being belittled.”
            You should put it on a greeting card.

          • Humour is subjective. get over it. things that offend you don’t offend me and things that offend me don’t offend you. that’s life. you don’t get to decide anything for me and I don’t get to decide for you.

            I don’t like being an asshole but, sometimes people need to just deal with it. the world isn’t going to cave because your feelings were hurt on the internet.

            Obviously in person you read the room. some jokes are more appropriate than others in different settings with different people. this however is the internet. we aren’t locked in a room together. the posts are on a social media site and there is a block function if you don’t like people. use it. you’ll never have see their posts again.

          • sometimes people need to just deal with it
            there is a block function if you don’t like people. use it

            That’s hypocritical, though. People have as much right to respond to someone saying something stupid as the person did to speak in the first place. Either they both have the right to speak, or neither do. Suggesting only one side should ‘just deal with it’ is suggesting that one side is somehow less entitled to speak than the other.

          • Hardly hypocritical. people have to accept that other people will always disagree with them. if they don’t want to engage with them they have block functions among other options to prevent further engagment.

            by dealing with it they can respond sure. that’s fine. healthy even if you want to have a respectful discussion. the problem comes when people don’t want a discussion. they want to scream in your face (physically or metaphorically). that’s not dealing with it. those people would benefit from blocking people because they clearly aren’t in the right space to respect other peoples rights either.

            anyway, anyone can speak. anyone can respond. that’s what it should be. no one is more entitled to speak than someon else.

            Look I’m not sure my point is coming across all that well. sometimes doesn’t look to others the way it looks to me. The context here is to respect the fact that humour is subjective and while others don’t have to like jokes, insulting others for finding humour in them is just as bad.

          • @blazenite104 This seems to come down to a very subjective sense of proportionality. If ‘screaming in your face’ is an unreasonable response, then why isn’t ‘shitty bigoted joke’ an unreasonable comment in the first place? If a person has the right to make a stupid joke, surely others have the right to blast them for it.

            Personally I think they’re both dumb things, and the better solution is don’t make shitty bigoted jokes and don’t scream in people’s faces. Feels like everyone would be better off that way.

          • Are you really trying to defend being a dick by saying it doesn’t offend you, only others, so that makes it ok? I guess in your world even assault isn’t that bad because you’re not hurt by it… I mean the victim is but that’s life right? Get over it.

            Oh no I see, you’re trying to say it’s ok so long as the person who might get offended doesn’t see/hear about it! That makes sense, so if your partner died unexpectedly, it’d be totally cool for all your friends to laugh about it behind your back. So long as they don’t ‘directly offend’ you, they aren’t horrible for finding your tragedy funny right?

            Or is this just an internet thing now because I can’t say I remember that lesson in school about treating others how we wish to be treated, except when online…

            Seriously, if you don’t see why it’s wrong to laugh at something that demeans an entire class of people (I really don’t give a shit what excuse you feel is worthy for laughing, you’re still laughing), I don’t know what else to say to you.

          • Seriously, if you don’t see why it’s wrong to laugh at something that demeans an entire class of people

            You forgot to add: unless those people are straight white cisgendered men. It’s ok to demean that entire class of people.

            Funny how if something offends others, it’s bad, but if something offends that group of people, bad luck. Amirite

          • mean jokes are not the same thing as assult or death. are you stupid or something? Mean words on the internet might offend you but they can’t hurt you like someone actually close by.

            as for demeaning an entire group of people. big deal I’m left-handed, white and a red-head. If that doesn’t ring any bells… white people are apparently the source of all evil these days. red heads have no souls and left handers are the devil. yeah I got all that and more growing up. you know what though, I moved past it. I didn’t scream bigot at people. I dealt with it. people are going to be assholes.

            Now if someone does assault people. physically does something inappropriate, that is entirely different. then again you seem to equate words with violence so you don’t see the distinction. There is. a very big one. one of those things you can in fact simply walk away from. the other not so much. in equating the two you have in fact trivialised the trauma of victims of actual assault.

        • i really don’t get how anyone beyond the age of like 15 cannot get this concept, i’m not going to bother explaining why your wrong if this reply gets you to come back here just read the other comments they already explain it very clearly.

          are you a troll…

          • Maybe don’t try bringing age or trolling into your reasoning of why people are wrong until you can master basic grammar.

            Yes, I am over 15 and no, I’m not trolling. I had already read the other replies, one which I would never be able to answer without simply being insulting and one that I have now responded to.

            As for this comment, if you won’t tell me why you think I’m wrong I can’t really answer that other than to say that I stand by my original argument; If you look at the above ‘WNBA Chefs’ pic and your first reaction is to laugh rather than face-palm (or just keep scrolling), you’re being sexist. The basis of the joke is to demean an entire class of people, laughing at that for whatever stupid reason you come up with is still laughing at something that demeans a class of people…

          • If you refuse to explain a point, you don’t have one. I thought that anyone who made it into adulthood knew that.

            see how that sounds? If it sounds insulting then maybe you should rethink how you post things.

  • I like Dave Chappelle a lot of his jokes a self deprecatingly racist guess I’m a racist too, or Joel Creasey doing the same with gay jokes whoops guess I’m also homophobic and let’s not forget about Amy Schumer, damn I just checked yep I still think she’s funny must mean I’m a fat shamer too.

    Oh the humanity, how will I ever become woke enough to walk around in a perpetual state of waiting to be offended by everything, how can life go on this way being able to laugh at shock humour.

  • The only objective of the person who posted this image was to provoke a reaction.

    A you just gave them a dump truck full of reactions

    Ignore and move on. Not that hard

    The more you go full outrage mode the more you make people want to do it.

        • It’s absolutely bonkers how so many people react to trolls as if they’re serious and believe everything they put forth to piss others off.

          The rage a well versed troll can generate could power a fuckin’ city.

          • I have a lot of fun doing it on twitter.

            Especially with the types who list 20 different gender pronouns in their bio.

            You know the types.

          • Instagram is a favourite of mine… Thinking of moving to Kotaku now though, so easy to get people butthurt. Just sit back with the popcorn and watch them put their gender studies degrees to use lol

          • Sterling use of your ever-dwindling time on Earth.

            Genuine question: have you ever considered the possibility that you have at least a mild sociopathy? I mean, you’re literally going out of your way to cause negative feelings and reactions in other people just because you dislike their choices in life, which have no effect on yours. If you cannot understand why that is a miserable thing to do, then maybe comment it to your psychologist.

          • If intentionally triggering someone who is a Zoosexual and has admitted to purchasing a dog for one reason only makes me a sociopath. Ill gladly wear that title.

            Thats just an example of the kind of people i love to annoy.

          • Or the other case of a certain blue-haired orca whale who thinks its perfectly okay to Doxx a Youtuber and threaten calling CPS on them just because that youtube had a more successful comic book Kickstarter.

            Pissing off those kinds of people is good sport.

    • If your not part of the solution your part of the problem.
      Have you already forgotten all those “if you don’t call it out, you’re as bad as the person do it” campaigns.

  • Well, this is disappointing and it is sexist. There doesn’t need to be a separate game for WNBA just like there doesn’t need to be a separate game for FIBA or NBL. And to be honest it would save me some money for not having to buy more than one game. This being because as much as I love playing as my goto NBA team (go Nets!) or pick up a game using a FIBA/NBL team (go Wildcats and Croatia/Australia) and I don’t think because of sales either as FIBA covers way more countries than NBA does and then let’s not forget that we have also plenty of separate basketball games (NCAA anyone?).

    But one thing I would love to do is play as one of (if not the) best Australian basketballer in history. And wouldn’t you know it, she played in the WNBA. Bring on Lauren Jackson! Hell, I’d love to see her rank against half the NBA and I think she would still kick ass!

    • Yeah a separate game would tank hard in sales.

      Attaching them to the mainline game is the only way to do it.

    • just out of curiosity was this Lauren Jackson ever tested to see if she had abnormally high levels of testosterone, there are a lot of “female” athletes kicking ass and turns out almost always that they naturally produce about 3 times the normal female levels of testoterone.

      • But what does this matter? Why does it seem like you are trying to take away or lessen this person’s achievements? I don’t care and it isn’t my business what their hormonal count is.
        Regardless of any that, could she have just been a great athlete? She trained her whole life. Had two basketball based parents and dedicated herself to it. I enjoyed watching her skills when she played and I hope she enjoyed playing as well. And it was great seeing her represent our country.

        • Depends the sport and federation. There was a runner recently told she cannot compete unless she takes hormone reduction therapy hecause her natural levels are too high.

        • you should try this concept called the benefit of the doubt, after reading your comment i had a quick look at Lauren Jackson’s achievements on wikipedia and watched some game footage on youtube. impressive

          i decided to ask my question as i stated out of curiosity because when there is a female outlier and they have normal levels of testosterone then you don’t just have an elite athlete you have a fucking megastar, the kind of person i would watch documentaries on etc to get as much information about what built that megastar.

          Maybe instead of assuming everyone is a sexist, racist, nazi and whatever else you should just read the question and not assume the absolute worst motive you can think of. i don’t blame you i blame the media as a whole even this website contributes with articles like this to persuading everyone that these issues are pervasive rather than the truth which is they are fringe and trending towards extinction.

          • No assumption and my opinions are my own. I don’t let a website dictate them for me. I form them on my own experiences and knowledge and they are not necessarily right or wrong. They are just mine. When I see people posting memes about how a woman belongs in the kitchen or similar things, my opinion of that is that it is sexist. I didn’t even suggest any racism or the like so I am not sure where you are taking that assumption from. My opinion to your reply was that it seemed you were trying to lessen a person’s achievements based on their gender or hormonal count. I felt that is what it conveyed. Which personally I don’t care what either is in admiring this person’s achievements. But hey that is your opinion. You are entirely in your right to have it.

            However, you are not in your right to tell someone else what theirs is based on. You don’t know me or my circumstances that I form my opinions on regardless if you think it is from a certain website/media or not.

            If you don’t like what a website is posting then why still go to it? (Rhetorical question)

            Anyways, thanks for the discourse.

          • you are the lone single person on the whole of planet earth that is unaffected by the media they consume? i doubt it.

            i still feel like your insinuating i’m a sexist, since you hold personal opinions in such high regard maybe you would do me a favour and clarify exactly what it is you think my opinion is.

  • Wasting time and resources that could’ve been spent improving the game…

    Yeaaah, it’s inclusion of the woman’s division that stops that happening lol.

  • I mean, it’s the NBA2K fanbase… 😛

    But really, moderating to remove jokes like this doesn’t do anything but make them rarer. And rare memes are prized possessions.

  • Sexism is pathetic, simple as that, and portrays a profound lack of intelligence and capability for critical thought.

    • 100% true statement my dude, only problem is you haven’t pointed to any sexism.

      if your talking about this article and the jokes and memes then you still technically right about sexism you just have no concept of what it actually looks like.

  • I mean they’re not wrong about the dunking though.

    But yeah, has everyone forgotten what trolls do? They make such memes for this exact kind of reaction.

  • Crazy to think the WNBA has been in NBA Live the past 2 years and featured in NBA Street almost a decade ago and there was no sexist outcry (or none that I saw). So why is there now? Is it due to the popularity of 2k or is it due to people hating on 2knl for it’s microtransactions or is it a case of a more toxic gaming community?

  • I feel these old jokes fall a bit flat these days, woman generally are not fixed in the kitchen or housework area any more then men are iyam, but I guess some places in the world are still living in the 50s…

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