By Christina M. Tapper | S.I. Kids
This was Elena Delle Donne’s year.
The Chicago Sky star won the 2015 WNBA MVP after leading the league in scoring (23.4 points per game) and free throw percentage (95%) — she made 207 of 218 shots from the charity stripe.
Despite Delle Donne’s on-the-court domination, the 6-foot-5 guard/forward saw her team flounder in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last month. Delle Donne scored 40 points in a decisive game three against the Indiana Fever, but it wasn’t enough. The Sky’s season ended with a 100-89 loss.
“It just wasn’t my team’s year,” Delle Donne said at the launch of the Nike Women’s Elite Basketball collection in New York City recently.
She’s not moping, though.
“So many times in sports you’re going to fail, but it’s how you get back up from that,” Delle Donne said. “I’m not going to sulk about it. I’m just trying to improve and encourage my teammates to do the same. That’s how you bounce back.”
Delle Donne aims to get even better this offseason. And to assist in her improvement on the hardwood, she’s upgraded her gear — some of which she helped create.
Last week, Delle Donne joined other WNBA stars in New York as Nike unveiled its new line of apparel designed for women, by women. The brand worked with professional hoops stars like Delle Donne, Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike, and Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird — as well as elite high school players — to create the line.
From the tank to the shorts, Delle Donne said the gear will help bring her game to the next level.
“The fit is incredible,” said Delle Donne, who pointed out girls and women have often worn men’s apparel while playing. “I can put it on and just concentrate on my training.”
The line also includes a basketball hoodie and a cuffed pant. All the products were on hand at the unveiling, which included a panel discussion with Delle Donne, Ogwumike, Bird, and 2015 WNBA Rookie of Year Jewell Lloyd, moderated by basketball legend Sheryl Swoopes.
Delle Donne grew up wearing Swoopes’ sneaker, the first-ever women’s basketball signature-shoe. So being a part of the new women’s athletic collection is special.
“I remember when the Air Swoopes came out and how big that was,” Delle Donne said. “I owned a pair in middle school. When I got them, I had to go out to the yard immediately and play in them. Now, I’m a part of this collection. It just shows how far we’ve come now that we have a basketball apparel line.”