There’s an inseparable connection that fans build with their favorite teams and athletes. And while some fans will never deviate from their fandom, other fans use that connection to drop everything just to be close and see their teams and athletes in their reality.
One of those fans is Wai Chi Yip, who is a huge Elena Delle Donne fan and traveled over 8,000 miles to see Delle Donne play.
Yip endured a 16-hour flight and then drove all the way from New York just to see the Washington Mystics and, more specifically, Delle Donne play on Wednesday night. Timing her work just right, Yip planned her trip perfectly for this one night.
“[I planned the trip] when I knew I got annual leave from my work. I just check if there were any games during that period and boom, I got one chance and I just come,” Yip told NBC Sports Washington.
Through her fandom, she’s grown to love Delle Donne’s attitude and her teamwork-first mentality. She’s been a fan of the Mystics star for several seasons and anticipated herself doing this at some point.
Up until Wednesday, the only time that Yip saw Delle Donne was on television in Hong Kong. This time she was in the front row, behind the Mystics bench.
Of all the games to come to, this was not the best showing for the former WNBA MVP. In 22 minutes, Delle Donne put up 12 points on 4-for-14 shooting in a 103-85 blowout victory over the Chicago Sky, sitting for the entire fourth quarter.
Still, Yip was jubilant about seeing the forward play and could not contain her excitement after the game.
“It was priceless. Yes, I love to be here and watch her play a lot. It’s great,” Yip said.
After the final buzzer, Delle Donne made time to see her international fan and share the postgame interview with her. Yip got Delle Donne to sign her poster, shirt, and received a signed game-used towel, encapsulating a “surreal” night for the Hong Kong native.
Even Delle Donne was impressed with Yip’s dedication to seeing her play.
“That was awesome. For her to travel this far to come see us play, me play, it’s super humbling and I was glad I was able to meet her,” Delle Donne told NBC Sports Washington postgame. “She’s probably one of our greatest fans.”
For years, the NBA has been known to have a great presence in Eastern Asia. Basketball has been rooted in the local communities and grown exponentially over the years. Now, the WNBA is seeing the benefit of that growth and Delle Donne wants to capitalize on it.
“I think we should take a couple of games over [to Hong Kong]. It would be a huge thing for the league. It would be a huge thing for them to see us over there. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to do that too."
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