Chicago Sky superstar Elena Delle Donne is well-known for her exploits on the court and her status as the defending WNBA MVP, but what you may not know is the story of how her bond with her sister resurrected her basketball career.
In a new video released by Gatorade, Delle Donne recounts the story of how she walked away from the UConn women’s basketball team to take care of her sister Lizzie, who has cerebral palsy and is blind and deaf.
"Lizzie has always been my strength, but going away to play college basketball meant that I had to say goodbye, and I just wasn't ready," she said. "Everybody thinks I came home to take care of her, but she was the one helping me."
She took a year off from basketball, but ultimately decided to come back to the sport and became a star at the University of Delaware. In the video, she describes how her sister’s love of the wind helped give her a new perspective on life.
"If you close your eyes, and you can't hear anything, and the wind comes across your face and blows your hair, it makes you feel a certain joy. To her, it's just pure joy and it's incredible to watch something that simple make her so happy," Delle Donne shared.
"I'll step outside after a rough practice, feel the wind, and it's like, 'Oh. There you are Liz,'" she added. "Liz has taught me so much. You don't focus on what you don't have - you celebrate what you do."
Delle Donne has gone through other obstacles in her career as well, including contracting Lyme disease during her sophomore season. Eventually she overcame those challenges and was drafted by the Sky with the second overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft.
Unfortunately for Delle Donne, she has more adversity to go through now, as she’s dealing with recovery following thumb surgery earlier this month. The star forward is hoping to return to the court during the WNBA playoffs, but her timetable for recovery is unknown at this point.
Even with that latest setback, Delle Donne proves in the video that she is willing to take on any challenge, and going through adversity is something she’s become very adept at in her career.