Elena Delle Donne Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Elena Delle Donne      

WNBA All-Star for Washington Mystics; Olympic Gold Medalist; Special Olympics Global Ambassador

Elena Delle Donne was born on September 5, 1989 in Wilmington, Delaware, and was raised by her parents, Ernie and Joan Delle Donne, as the youngest of three children; an older sister, Lizzie, and older brother, Gene. Elena comes from an athletic family, to say the least. Her father, Ernie, played basketball at Columbia and her 6’7” brother, Gene, played football at Duke and Middle Tennessee State.

Elena, however, began her journey in high school at Ursuline Academy in Wilmington where she was a three-time state champion and heralded as a High School McDonalds All-American and WBCA All-American. In 2008, she was named National High School Player of the Year by McDonalds, USA Today and Gatorade.

After a difficult decision to leave home and play for the University of Connecticut, the top team in the nation, Delle Donne ultimately wanted to be closer to her family. Thus, began her legendary career at the University of Delaware becoming one of the most influential and decorated athletes in school history. A 2013 recipient of the Senior CLASS Award and Honda Award, she was also a consensus First Team All-American and National Player of the Year candidate in her junior and senior seasons.

Drafted by the Chicago Sky with the second overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, EDD instantly took the league by storm. Not only did she sweep WNBA Rookie of the Month accolades for her efforts throughout June, July, and August, she became the first rookie in WNBA history to win the WNBA All-Star fan vote. Remarkably, Delle Donne finished her rookie season ranked first in the league in free throw percentage (92.9), second in three-point percentage (43.8), fourth in scoring (18.1) and third overall in the WNBA MVP vote.

But Elena Delle Donne isn’t solely defined by her supremacy on the basketball court. That is to say, individual recognition means little; for her, deflecting credit is a visceral reaction.

Perhaps the most powerful example of Delle Donne’s philanthropy was her recent honor of being named as the newest Global Ambassador for Special Olympics. EDD joins other Global Ambassadors to elevate the Special Olympics movement and advance opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities in honor of her sister – one of the most influential people in her life – Lizzie.

Born blind and deaf with cerebral palsy and autism, Lizzie is a tremendous source of love and inspiration for Delle Donne (she graduated with a degree in human services with a focus in special education from the University of Delaware). Not only does Elena have a passion for helping people with special needs, she also hopes to raise awareness for Lyme disease, an ailment she has battled since 2008.

Additionally, Delle Donne has formed several partnerships with companies that share her vision. With a focus on excellence in sports, innovation, health and nutrition, Elena has partnered with Nike, Genesis Today, and DuPont.

Delle Donne came out publicly in 2016, just before the Olympics, and later hoped that her marriage to a woman will help other LGBT people in and out of sports come to accept themselves.


WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne reveals she is gay and engaged

In an upcoming interview with Vogue magazine, reigning WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne publicly reveals she is gay and is engaged to her longtime partner...

Related Speakers View all

More like Elena