Professional basketball player, Elena Delle Donne, is a superstar who exudes greatness in everything she does. Her list of on the court accomplishments is impressive: She’s a two-time WNBA MVP, a six-time All-Star, a WNBA Champion with the Washington Mystics and won Olympic gold in 2016. Delle Donne’s success comes from preparation, practice, and passion. You may be surprised to know that some of her greatest work is done off the court.
A generous soul, Elena supports many different organizations that are important to her. One of the first was the Lyme Research Alliance. After being diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2008, she became the organization’s first national ambassador to help promote awareness of the disease. Delle Donne is also a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics. Her motivation was her older sister Lizzie, who has a developmental disability. They share a very deep relationship. Delle Donne is also a supporter of Unified Sports, a concept pioneered by the Special Olympics, bringing together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities as teammates. In addition to her passion for these organizations, Delle Donne advocates for closing the gender pay gap in sports and creating an environment where females can enjoy equal rights as males.
Elena created the De11e Donne Skills Academy, a traveling camp that runs throughout the year. The star doesn’t just lend her name to the academy, she is very hands-on and makes herself available, even for Q & A sessions. She personally designs the curriculum, as well as hosts the camp, which gives her the opportunity to teach and mentor young girls ages seven to 18.
The campers are there to improve their skills on the court, focusing on the way Delle Donne plays her game. Delle Donne translates practice, preparation, and passion, into technique, teamwork, and sportsmanship. The camps also promote social inclusion and invite Special Olympic athletes to participate.
LeBron James has called Delle Donne one of his favorite players. He considers her an inspiration and a player to admire. Maybe it is because Elena is not only one of the most skilled players in the world, she is one of the most disciplined. How else would you explain that she holds the highest career free-throw-shooting percentage in pro basketball history? With all of her success, she is honorable and noble, giving back to others. With the De11e Donne Skills Academy, she is supporting the next generation of female athletes and teaching them to demand excellence in themselves. Delle Donne a true role model, not only for aspiring young basketball players but for everyone.
Photo Credits: Instagram