When virtual spaces meet the limitations of traditional sport: Gender stereotyping in NBA2K

Lindsey Darvin, Ceyda Mumcu, Ann Pegoraro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Video games have continued to increase in popularity. While the growth has been substantial, representation and acceptance of women throughout gaming environments, including those with traditional sport influences such as NBA2K, a basketball simulation game, have been lacking. Recently however, the NBA2K franchise added Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) player avatars to the NBA2K20 game. While this recent inclusion of WNBA avatars may be a great step in improving upon the concerning state of inclusion and representation of women throughout gaming, the reactions to and receptions of this change have not been fully explored. As a result, the current investigation, led by the tenets of hegemonic masculinity and bottom-up framing, sought to examine the perceptions of NBA2K fans, enthusiasts, and participants in regards to this change made by the NBA2K franchise in an effort to more fully understand the culture of gaming in relation to the treatment of women/girls. This objective was accomplished via an analysis of comments made through the social media application Instagram on the NBA2K20 WNBA inclusion announcement post. The Instagram comments were coded and analyzed through the use of the qualitative software Leximancer, which conducts thematic and semantic analysis on written words as well as visual text. Results revealed perceptions of the WNBA avatars embroiled with displays of hegemonic masculinity, demonstrating that the negative sentiments and framing women face within traditional sport settings are weaved within the virtual sport game simulations as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106844
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Diversity
  • Equity
  • Framing
  • Hegemonic masculinity
  • Video games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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