At the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game Elena Delle Donne was the center of attention. Attention not from her play on the court, or for a team being named after her, but rather what she continues to do for her fans.
Before the showcase game, the Washington Mystics guard/forward had a special moment with a young fan. Moments that many have seen before, but never get old and tug at the heartstrings. It is rare though to see the genuine joy that Delle Donne displayed when she ripped off the fan's blindfold.
The fan, Shai Norwood, is in remission from lymphoma – cancer that develops in the body’s germ-fighting network. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Norwood’s wish of meeting Delle Donne and getting her shoes signed came true.
Norwood believed that her job was to find the Las Vegas mascot, Buckets out on the basketball floor. As a part of the plan, Delle Donne jumped in front of the mascot generating a priceless memory for both her and the fan.
“It was a really special moment,” Delle Donne told NBC Sports Washington. “By far the best moment I’ve ever had in any All-Star [Game] and I don’t think it’ll ever get topped.”
Events like these are nothing new for the seven-year WNBA veteran. Earlier in the season, a fan traveled 8,000 miles just to see Delle Donne in action. Yet, even playing basketball at the highest level in the United States, Delle Donne still is surprised at her own stardom.
“Moments like that are so humbling and at times shocking to me and like, ‘why do they want to meet me, you know,’” Delle Donne told NBC Sports Washington. “[T]o see me making their day or making their year is something really special and humbling and it means so much to me.”
In the end, it was a weekend that was all about Delle Donne, and rightfully so. A team was named after her. She was named the team’s captain based on a fan vote. Through one half of the season, she is once again in the MVP conversation and carrying the Mystics to one of the top spots in the Eastern Conference.
No one will remember the results from All-Star game though, or the fact Team Delle Donne lost. These moments are where the memories will be made and will carry the future of the sport.
As for Delle Donne, she better get used to being on this type of stage.
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