Elena Delle Donne, 23, the Chicago Sky’s newest team member, met with press today at the John Hancock Observatory. Between quick hellos and posing for pictures, Delle Donne stood at the windows on the 94th floor looking out over her new city with her mother.
Delle Donne was the second pick of the 2013 WNBA draft in mid April. Donne just ended her final collegiate season at the University of Delaware where she led the team to its first national ranking. Although Delaware’s postseason ended earlier than the team had hoped, Delle Donne left her college career with enough accolades and promise that she didn’t stay disappointed for long, she said.
Delle Donne scored 3,039 career points, fifth in NCAA Division I history, despite missing 22 games due to illness or injury. During her sophomore year at Delaware, Delle Donne began experiencing flu like symptoms which turned out to be the bacterial infection that causes Lyme disease. Since then Delle Donne has struggled with the disease but never let it deter her from her lifelong dream of being in the WNBA.
“It’s amazing to be a part of this,” Delle Donne said. “I grew up loving the Chicago Bulls, and now to be a part of a Chicago team, it’s a dream come true,” she said.
Besides being drafted by her number one choice, Delle Donne was also happy that she gets to keep her jersey number, 11, which she has worn since she was 11 years old.
The 6-foot-5 forward/guard shot 48 percent from the field and 40 percent on 3-pointers despite facing extra defensive focus as the leading scorer on the court every game.
“Right now I’m going to get into training camp, work really hard to make this team better and do what I do best, I think my versatility is going to help this team.”
This is just the beginning of Delle Donne’s professional career, but as she looks to the future she has a clear hope of what will come. She mentioned wanting to become involved with the Special Olympics as well as starting her own foundation to help people with special needs.
Delle Donne said she wants to leave behind a legacy of playing with passion and love for the game. Delle Donne took a brief break from basketball to spend time with family. “That’s something that I had lost and I got it back now, it’s incredible, when you play with passion and do what you love doing , you can do great things,” she said.
Chicago residents comment on the talented star who WNBA President Laurel Richie called “one of the most prolific all-around players that I’ve ever seen” prior to the draft. Tierra Brunson, 30, a Chicago resident, has an 11-year old daughter who plays basketball in the Chicago Park District.
“I hope my daughter makes it to the WNBA one day,” she said. “I don’t follow the WNBA, but my daughter does, it’s sad to say but it’s a man’s world, the mens basketball team is more popular, not the womens.”
Priscilla Lopez contributed to this story.