Chicago Sky player Elena Delle Donne, last year’s WNBA MVP, said she’s in a same-sex relationship in a Vogue magazine story, the first time she has publicly spoken about her sexual orientation.
The 26-year old Delle Donne got engaged in June to Amanda Clifton, a former women’s basketball player at Illinois State, who will make the trip to Rio. Delle Donne and Clifton live together in Chicago with Delle Donne’s dog, Wrigley. The two are partners running De11e Donne Academy clinics, which help young girls on and off the court.
“Vogue just did a very in-depth article and for those that are very close to me, they know Amanda very well. [It was] one of those articles where they came into my home and spent a couple days with me and Amanda is a huge part of my life,” Delle Donne said Wednesday. “To leave her out wouldn’t have made any sense. It’s not a coming-out article or anything. I’ve been with her for a very long time now and people who are close to me know that.”
In terms of possibly inspiring others, she added that in her family “we’ve always been taught to celebrate uniqueness,” referring to sister Lizzie, who is blind, deaf, autistic and has cerebral palsy. “It’s easy in my family to be who I am and hopefully others can be who they are.”
Her U.S. teammates were supportive when asked about Delle Donne at a news conference for the women’s basketball team, which plays Senegal on August 7th.
“That’s probably the best part of the story is that it’s not a huge deal anymore,” Sue Bird said. “Definitely from a personal standpoint but from a society stand point, that’s where we wanted to get. We wanted be in this place where it’s not a big deal. We want to be in this place where you don’t even have to make an announcement. It’s a non-issue to me in a lot of ways.
“But for her, it’s great. Definitely proud of her.”
Delle Donne, who has averaged 20.4 points a game in four professional seasons, is one of the stars of the U.S. team along with Brittney Griner, also making her Olympic debut. Griner and Delle Donne — who played at Delaware in college — went 1-2 in the 2013 WNBA draft.