Washington Mystics guard Aerial Powers has proven herself invaluable on the court in her young WNBA career. One glance at her 2019 WNBA championship ring cements that point. But the out athlete branched into a new realm of athletic influence during 2020’s bubbled WNBA season: esports.
Powers launched her Twitch channel, PowerzSurge, last year, showcasing her prowess at battle royale shooters like Apex Legends and Call of Duty: Warzone and showing NBA2K players that women can virtually ball with the best.
The esports world took notice of Powers’ rise in recent months, culminating in Wednesday’s announcement that the WNBA champion joined standout esports organization Team Liquid. The new relationship will see Powers join Team Liquid’s streaming roster and become a brand and diversity ambassador for the company.
Speaking to The Esports Observer, Powers detailed how her relationship with Team Liquid grew after participating in its Valorant Pro-Am event last year. “I’ve admired Team Liquid for a while, due to their reputation in the space… They were welcoming and really enthusiastic about me being a part of their event,” Powers said. “We continued to build on that enthusiasm and developed a deeper relationship the last several months.”
The reputation Powers speaks of is lengthy and, like Powers, championship caliber. According to its website, Team Liquid’s “collective teams have won the most prize money in the history of esports.” The organization boasts championships in League of Legends and Dota 2 and fields top athletes in nearly every competitive gaming scene.
The Michigan State alum’s deal with Team Liquid comes three months after joining Ford Models’ Esports and Gaming division.
Powers’ addition isn’t just because of her rising Twitch popularity, though. She consistently uses her platform to promote Black, LGBTQ and female voices in esports, including hosting her own all-women NBA2K tournament, Powerz Up.
Signing with Team Liquid gives Powers a new platform to continue pushing for inclusion in esports as chair of the company’s newly created Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. “I’ll be working closely with Liquid on creating and elevating ways to improve inclusivity not just within the organization, but across the industry,” Powers told The Esports Observer. “We’re really going to lean into championing the next generation of women gamers.”
Powers’ new position, along with her work as a member of the Global Esports Federation’s Athletes and Players Commission, places her in prime position to accomplish that impact.
“We’ve made some strides in the last few years. But let’s be clear, we don’t just want to secure a seat, we want to create the table. We need more women in leadership positions that are able to transform the culture and industry,” Powers said. “It is so true that sometimes you can’t be what you can’t see.”