Elena Delle Donne grabbed the national spotlight on Wednesday, Aug. 3 focused on her off-the-court life: in a two-page feature story that appeared in the August issue of Vogue, Delle Donne confirmed for the first time that she is in a same-sex relationship with Amanda Clifton and the two will be married.
Delle Donne was the Chicago Sky's first-round draft pick (second overall behind out lesbian Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury) and was the 2015 WNBA MVP. Delle Donne is a three-time WNBA All-Star.
The Vogue story states, "Elena divides her time between traveling with her team, the Chicago Sky, and her family's home in the rolling green landscape of Wilmington, Delaware. She and her fiance, Amanda Clifton, keep apartments in both Chicago and Wilmington."
Delle Donne, 26, has long been outspoken about the inclusion of lesbian and bisexual players in the WNBA.
She is in Rio, eyeing gold with Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Delle Donne told media at the Olympics, "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. 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."
Clifton played basketball at Illinois State University and is now a director at of De11e Donne Academy, the basketball camps by the WNBA superstar. Clifton is in Rio, too.
Delle Donne apparently proposed to Clifton as Clifton last month posted photos on Facebook of the proposal with Clifton answering, "I obviously said yes!" to Delle Donne's "Marry Me?" sign.
"Elena Delle Donne is a great representative for her country, her sport, and female athletes in general. I'm happy for her and fiance, Amanda Clifton ... now go get that gold in Rio," said Linda Bache, the owner/GM for the Chicago Force women's football team.
Julie Colwell of Chicago tagged the news as "Fantastic."
"The Olympics and a wedding … a great year for Elena. Let's hope there is gold at both events. Love always wins," Colwell said.
Robin Lee, who runs a sports memorabilia website geared for female athletes (www.girl-jocks.com), said it was "wonderful to hear" about Delle Donne.
"Good for [Elena] for being true to herself," Lee said. "The reigning WNBA League MVP, on the eve of the world's largest and most prestigious sporting event, quietly declares who she is. This simple grace is another reason to watch and admire Elena Delle Donne."
Alex Chambers, who lives in Arizona, has attended hundreds of WNBA games and even wrote a book about the league, said Delle Donne's news hopefully will inspire more athletes in the WNBA to already be out before they even come into the league, thus leaving the only thing to focus on is their game."
Michael Erwin, the president of the predominantly gay Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association (CMSA), said Delle Donne is now, without question, "a role model for many young and old LGBTQA athletes."
Sue Laschinski, who lives in suburban Chicago, added the Delle Donne "will have a huge impact on young girls as she is embracing who she really is [as] an individual. She is a great role model."