Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne helped make the day of hundreds of teenagers Friday when she, in partnership with Dick's Sporting Goods Foundation, distributed basketball equipment to young girls from the Philadelphia Suns non-profit. The WNBA champion wasn't in attendance, but thanks to technology, was able to share the good news herself via video.
"I was so honored to be a part of this project with Dick's Sporting Goods," Delle Donne said to Yahoo Sports via phone minutes after surprising the teens. "By the age of 14, the drop out rate of girls quitting sports is two times the rate compared to guys. So, it's important to instill early on that we care about them and want them to love whatever sport they ultimately play."
Throughout the month of July, the Dick's Sporting Goods Giving Truck will be traveling to organizations across the nation distributing 15,000 pieces of sports gear to various youth sports organizations in need. This particular leg specifically celebrates girls in sport and embracing the power of women in sports.
The Delaware native continued: "Even if you decide sports aren't for you professionally, they still have a lot of long-term benefits like developing your social skills and learning that even if you fall down, you can get back up and try again."
Delle Donne gives assessment of first half of Mystics' 2021 season
She's been sidelined from play during the WNBA's historic 25th year, but that hasn't stopped Delle Donne from giving an assessment of how the Mystics are performing and the impact of this week's All-Star break.
"It's been a really fun first half," the two-time league MVP said. "The visibility of the W's growth has been great to see. A break can always be tough, but it's also a chance for the team to really rest up and figure out how to improve on our performance to finish the season strong."
The ratings for women's sports prove visibility is long overdue. Not only did the WNBA's opening weekend in May see a 27% growth in ratings on NBA TV, but Game 2 of the Women's College World Series between Oklahoma and Florida State in June set a record with an average of over two million views. Compared to Game 2 in 2019, this is a 14% increase.
"Everyone is tuning in and they love watching our games," said Delle Donne. "It's not just basketball, we're seeing women's sports on the rise across all leagues. Hopefully we can continue on this path and keep breaking records for seasons to come."
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