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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Delle Donne featured in Glamour Magazine

Via Chicago Tribune

Elena Delle Donne boasts about the depth of the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team in the July issue of Glamour magazine.

“We could field a second team,” the Chicago Sky star says. “We have players dropping three-pointers from half court. It’s an incredible group.”

Delle Donne is featured in a photoshoot with Olympic teammates Tamika Catchings, a Stevenson High School alum and former Deerfield resident, and Sue Bird.

The issue is on newsstands now.
Original Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/ct-elena-delle-donne-glamour-magazine-20160609-story.html

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Back to DE with US Team in tow

Via Delaware Online

Fans of Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne will have an opportunity to watch her and the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s National Team at her old playground this summer during the 2016 USA Basketball Showcase. The women’s national team will host Australia, Canada and France in a four-team, three-stop tournament July 27-31 at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center, Bridgeport, Connecticut; and New York.

Featuring the world’s second-ranked team Australia, 2015 FIBA Americas Championship gold medalist Canada and 2012 Olympic silver medalist France, the showcase tips off at the “Bob” at 5 p.m. on July 27 for Australia vs. Canada, followed by a 7:30 p.m. clash between the USA and France. The July 29 games feature a 4:30 p.m. start at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport between Australia and France, while the USA takes on Canada at 7 p.m. On the tournament’s final day at Madison Square Garden, Canada and France tip off at 1:30 p.m., while the USA and Australia will begin play at 4 p.m.

From there, the U.S. team will travel to Houston for United States Olympic Team processing and a final practice on Aug. 2, prior to traveling to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Tickets for the USA Basketball Showcase exhibition games will go on sale starting June 13. For ticket information visit usab.com/showcase.

“This tournament with Australia, Canada and France, three of the top teams in the world, is an incredible opportunity for our team to prepare for Rio,” said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, who has directed the USA National Team to an overall 23-0 record and gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Championships. “I think each of these games will be competitive and be a really, really good preview of what you’ll see in August at the Olympics. Two years ago we were able to play games at Delaware … and the fan support at both of those games was tremendous.”

Five-time defending Olympic gold medalists, the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team features three-time gold medalists and tri-captains Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); two-time Olympic gold medalists Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx) and Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx); and 2012 Olympic gold medalists Tina Charles (New York Liberty), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx) and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx). Competing in their first Olympic Games are Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury) and Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut).

FIBA on March 11, 2016, held the draw to determine the Aug. 6-10 preliminary round groups, and the United States was placed in Group B along with Canada, Senegal, Serbia and two teams that will earn their berths at the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament next week in Nantes, France. The top five finishing teams from the Olympic qualifier will earn a berth to Rio, with the second and fourth best teams included in Group B.

The U.S. will open play against against Senegal on Aug. 7, followed by the No. 4 team from the Olympic qualifier on Aug. 8, Serbia on Aug. 10, Canada Aug. 12, and the USA concludes preliminary round play on Aug. 14 against the No. 2 team from the Olympic qualifier.

Auriemma will be assisted through the 2016 Olympic Games by DePaul University’s Doug Bruno, the Minnesota Lynx’ Cheryl Reeve and University of South Carolina’s Dawn Staley.

Original Source: http://www.delawareonline.com/story/sports/2016/06/09/delle-donne-comes-back-delaware-us-team-tow/85664188/

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Elena continues to spread acceptance


Reigning WNBA MVP Elena Della Donne has never been shy about expressing her opinion, particularly when it comes to perhaps the one issue closest to her heart.

So when a comedian recently included in his Showtime special a bit about his “retarded” cousin, Delle Donne took to Twitter along with others to call him out.

On Tuesday, the comedian, Gary Owen, decided to remove the offensive segment.

“I’m thrilled the Special Olympics was able to reach him and make it clear how powerful and hurtful words can be,” Delle Donne said Wednesday. “I hope this will change his perspective and resonate with him in the future.”

Delle Donne, who will be making her Olympic debut this summer in Rio, is also devoted to the Special Olympic movement as a proponent of Unified Sports and a spokeswoman for those with intellectual disabilities.

“I will say something every time,” the Chicago Sky star said of speaking out when she hears someone use the R-word, as those involved in Special Olympics call it, or anything she finds offensive. “My sister doesn’t have a voice to defend herself, so I take lot of pride in doing that. … Whenever that happens, I speak out and say it was wrong and unfair.”

Delle Donne has spoken and written often of her older sister Lizzie, who was born deaf and blind, with cerebral palsy and autism, and though Lizzie is unable to participate in Special Olympics activities, Elena has consistently worked with the organization throughout her career.

Delle Donne’s devotion has extended to making sure all of her basketball clinics are unified — involving those with intellectual disabilities along with non-disabled teammates — and including unified games at the NBA and WNBA All-Star weekends.

“The Special Olympics athletes are really incredible,” Delle Donne said. “It’s really good basketball and really fun.”

On Wednesday, Special Olympics announced that it has surpassed its goal of registering one million Unified Sports participants by reaching 1.2 million, a significant jump from 500,000 two years ago. In addition, Unified Sports are now in 4,300 schools in the U.S.

“The greatest thing about it is that it’s breaking down barriers for people who are nervous to approach those with intellectual disabilities because they don’t know what to say or they’re afraid they’ll break,” Delle Donne said. “When you build relationships, you eliminate that.”

Original Source: http://espn.go.com/espnw/culture/article/16049634/elena-delle-donne-continues-spread-word-acceptance

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Wrigley’s World: Elena’s four-legged fan

Via Chicago Sun Times

It’s hard to miss Elena Delle Donne when the 6-5 Sky star walks around the city.

But the reigning WNBA MVP isn’t always getting stopped to sign autographs. Instead, she’s often fielding requests to pet her 3-year-old Great Dane, Wrigley.

“They always comment how beautiful Wrigley is and ask to pet him,” Delle Donne said. “He loves it.”


Delle Donne has always been surrounded by Great Danes. Her first, named Raider, was found on a walk with her mother, Joan, when Elena was 5 years old, growing up in Wilmington, Del. After their first dog passed, the Delle Donnes got another Great Dane, Champ.

“They’re just such loving and friendly dogs,” Delle Donne said. “Their personality is incredible. It’s different from any other dog I’ve seen.”

Delle Donne knew leaving her family and moving to Chicago would be a bumpy transition, so she bought her third Great Dane during her rookie season in 2013. She didn’t know what to call her new puppy for several weeks but soon found the perfect name after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field.

Delle Donne, who averaged a league high 23.4 points and shot 95 percent from the free-throw line last season, said Wrigley helps her get through the ups and downs of the WNBA season.

“He’s an outlet for me,” Delle Donne said of Wrigley, who stands nearly equal level to Delle Donne when standing on his back paws.

“He keeps things in perspective, he’s like my little boy,” she said. “I can come home after having an awful game or come home from a tough loss and he’s there just celebrating like we won the championship.”

As the Sky look to rebound from an early exit to the Indiana Fever in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season, Delle Donne has her eyes set on the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Delle Donne is among the 12 players selected to the U.S. women’s basketball team for the Rio Games. She is one of three first-time Olympians on the team.

Wrigley won’t be marching next to Delle Donne with Team USA during the parade of nations at the Olympics in Rio, but the handsome Great Dane will be cheering from Chicago.

“He’s probably going to want to wear my Team USA jersey,” Delle Donne joked. “He’s everything to me, I love him. I make sure Wrigley has the greatest life ever and then I come next.”

Original Source: http://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/wrigleys-world-sky-star-elena-delle-donnes-four-legged-fan/

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Delle Donne’s Silent Supremacy

Via Roling Stone Magazine

Elena Delle Donne is not just a basketball player. She also likes making tables. She is the proud owner of a dog named Wrigley, the reigning champion of Complex’s Beast Wars bracket. She’s built a bed frame with her bare hands! But when you hit free throws at a rate of 94 percent, your woodworking acumen tends to recede from the foreground, even if you continue to post photos of your latest creations on social media. And even if, because you are the kind of grinder who figures you might as well make a business of your hobby, you start selling your furniture on Etsy.

Because here’s the thing about that number: it’s higher than NBA free throw record-holder Steve Nash or Rick Barry or half-court hustler Steph Curry. It’s higher than those of the men she’s compared to by well-meaning people who wish to compliment her through analogy to male players: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki. Elene Delle Donne can mess around with framing squares all she wants, but the 90-degree angle that bests basketball pros worldwide is the one she makes with her own arms as she stands at the foul line. Quick dribble, knee bend, smooth unfurling of the right angle: that’s the technique that has made her the most accurate free throw shooter in all pro ball. No fat to trim, it would make Frank Bunker Gilbreth proud.

Of course, Delle Donne’s free-throw shooting is just one aspect of her game; the reigning WNBA MVP, she may be the most well-rounded player the league has seen in recent history. She’s a big who can play post and guard, taking small players inside and staying to the outer perimeter with tall opponents. It’s a tactic her father first suggested when she was a kid: combine altitude and attitude, genetics with technical facility, destiny and free will. And it’s served her well.

“It’s just complete confidence and knowing everything’s going your way,” she says. “So anything you do will be successful.”

Part of what makes her effective is exactly that zone, which many describe as poise – not arrogance, but the placid confidence of a player who doesn’t question the future, seeing it only as a place where intentions become correct outcomes. Somehow, what seems impossible to almost every person in the world feels natural when she’s on the court. There’s some chess to it, but there’s also the instinct developed by routinized tape study and years of making reads.

Pokey Chatman, her coach on the Chicago Sky, says Delle Donne plays with intellect. She means how fluent Delle Donne is in corporeal codes. It’s a language Delle Donne, who says verbal communication isn’t always the best way to speak, trusts.

This faith she attributes to her older sister Lizzie, who is deafblind, autistic and has cerebral palsy. All her life, Delle Donne has spoken to her sister through hand-over-hand signing, in which the listener gently holds the hands of the speaker in something like a manual dance, words felt on the skin. But sometimes, Delle Donne just observes Lizzie. She likes to watch a smile break on her sister’s face when a breeze ruffles by.

“You learn so much more than from other forms of communication,” she says. “She experiences the world in such a different way, and it’s incredible to watch.”

Still, the sisters cannot speak outside of each other’s physical presences. They need to share space. It’s one reason their brother Gene believes that Elena made a midnight getaway from UConn after only two days of classes. Delle Donne has said she needed to find herself outside of basketball. It’s difficult for her to explain how she found that woman; all she did was not play basketball. She joined the University of Delaware volleyball team instead, until she decided she had no idea what she was doing (she knows what she likes: family, basketball and dogs) and returned to the court.

Other players might’ve agonized over passing up the chance to train with UConn’s Geno Auriemma, but according to Delle Donne, more even than winning the MVP last year or leading the WNBA in All-Star Game voting during her first season – the first time a rookie has ever done so – her pride is situated in having made a mid-major, University of Delaware, into a name.

Now, her eyes are on Rio. She remembers watching the Olympics as a kid: track and field, volleyball, swimming. It became the dream. After last season, she toured Europe with the USA Women’s National Team and she’s participated in Olympic training camps, but her place in Brazil wasn’t officially assured. Then, earlier this year, she was driving to her practice facility when she got the call from Carol Callan, the Women’s National Team Director. She was scared, or maybe relieved. She was also, she was to discover, a member of the Olympic team, alongside the likes of Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, Angel McCoughtry and Brittney Griner. In the WNBA, these players are her rivals. Now, they’ll be her teammates.

“We all get to play together, which is so refreshing,” she says. “Finally! Be on one team together instead of always competing against one another.”

It’s a statement that could be interpreted as disingenuously Pollyannaish, but it reflects something of the humbleness of the WNBA. The league has fared well in comparison to other women’s pro leagues, but its 12 teams still don’t get prime coverage. Around half of American players, such as Griner and Taurasi, have played abroad, because WNBA salaries amount to pocket change for their NBA counterparts, while, for example, Griner made 12 times her 2013 WNBA salary playing in China. Delle Donne, with her scoring finesse and squeaky clean image, has supplemented the pay with endorsements, and recently she joined Chris Paul and Demaryius Thomas — not to mention Twitter— as a strategic partner and equity investor in Muzik, an audio tech company soon to release wireless headphones.

The night we spoke, Delle Donne had already done a photo shoot for the company, and after a day of posing, she sounded a little tired. Then again, that could also have something to do with a general weariness with the media. After all the articles that have been written about her, she wonders what’s left to write about (she thinks the most interesting aspect of her life is the woodworking thing). Everyone knows that she loves Chicago, even though she must spend six months of the year away from family. Everyone knows about the Lyme Disease she was diagnosed with in college. Everyone knows she wants to lower the rim in women’s basketball. At this point, she’d prefer to let her play on the court do the talking – even if she knows that’s wishful thinking.

“It’s like, I’ve done so many articles. People know a lot, a lot about me,” she says. “[But] I’m constantly thinking of new ways to engage fans, and help grow the visibility of the WNBA.”

“You didn’t study marketing, did you?” I ask.

“I did not,” she laughs, a little ruefully. “Maybe I should have.”

Original Source: http://www.rollingstone.com/sports/features/elena-delle-donnes-silent-supremacy-20160527

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