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Elena Delle Donne discusses road to recovery, pay equity in women’s basketball, and her Delaware roots

Elena Delle Donne is WNBA champion and 2x-WNBA MVP for the Washington Mystics. She played college basketball for the University of Delaware from 2009 to 2013.
Stephen Gosling
Elena Delle Donne is a WNBA champion and 2x-WNBA MVP for the Washington Mystics. She played college basketball for the University of Delaware from 2009 to 2013.

Entering her 10th WNBA season, 33-year-old Delaware native Elena Delle Donne remains one of the biggest names in women’s basketball.

And after being out of the spotlight the past few years due to severe back issues, the former WNBA champion and two-time league MVP is finally back to full health as a member of the Washington Mystics.

Delaware Public Media’s Kyle McKinnon recently caught up with Elena Delle Donne during the WNBA’s media day for more on her road to recovery, pay equity for the WNBA, and her love for Delaware.

Delaware Public Media's Kyle McKinnon talks with WNBA star and First State native Elena Delle Donne

Delaware’s favorite daughter Elena Delle Donne is healthy and ready to start the WNBA season when it begins this week.

The Delaware native and UD grad has dealt with back injuries the last few years, but proclaims herself fit and healthy saying never felt better or physically stronger in her career.

She says is ready for opening tip this year.

"Mentally and physically I'm feeling great. I'm really excited about this season. I'm excited about the team we have, and the opportunity we have to go out and compete every single night. I do feel great. There's been seasons before where it's like I hope I can play this year, and that's not at all the case. I'm healthy, I'm strong," said Delle Donne.

And as Delle Donne - a two time WNBA MVP - returns, there is a new bigger spotlight on women’s basketball.

The women’s NCAA Tournament ended with high TV ratings especially the Final Four which set viewership records, as players became popular through their play and actions.

That success along with the New York Liberty putting together a “superteam” and Delle Donne’s return sets the table for the WNBA to become more popular.

And Delle Donne says, if it all comes together does, the players deserve their share.

"Just continuing to see more and more visibility that's always been huge. Having our games on TV so people can watch and see us and we can gain more and more fans, and then having the companies invest in our game, that's crucial,” said Delle Donne. “And then we hope that as the media deals get bigger and bigger, the revenue share needs to be shared amongst players. So there's a lot that can still be done, and I think we're headed in the right direction by just continuing to have more exposure and visibility."

Delle Donne’s Washington Mystics open the season on May 19 against the New York Liberty, who enter the season as one of the favorites to win the championship.

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Kyle McKinnon is the Senior Producer for The Green with a passion for storytelling and connecting with people.