Chiquita Evans is the first woman drafted into a U.S. professional eSports league.
“We’re out here, definitely out here, a lot of us,” she said. “We’re really just trying to get the respect we deserve. And we coming for 2019.”
Evans, a gamer from Illinois, was drafted by the Warriors Gaming Squad for the NBA 2K League’s 2019 season.
In 2018, the NBA 2K League became the first professional U.S. eSports league. Evans grew up playing basketball but injuries interfered with her life on the court. eSports became a new outlet for her to compete.
“Once I got injured, I kinda like, I’m not gonna say fell out of love with it, the passion just wasn’t there,” she said. “So I got into gaming, I got into 2K. It’s basically my way of being able to compete without physically competing.”
Evans earned a spot at the 2018 NBA 2K League showcase and was officially drafted to a team in March 2019. Players earn a base salary, but can also win cash from the league’s pool that totals up to $1.2 million. But Evans says her latest W is for women gamers worldwide.
“Women have actually come to me and told me that I was an inspiration to them,” she said. “So it wouldn’t be right for me to give up because they believe in me—breaking barriers.”