Mystics vs. Sky: All eyes on Elena Delle Donne’s return to Chicago

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: Elena Delle Donne
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: Elena Delle Donne /

The actual game between the Washington Mystics and Chicago Sky on Wednesday is almost the secondary event at AllState Arena.

The real intrigue will be around the reception former Sky star Elena Delle Donne will receive when she is introduced and throughout the game, which tips off at 11:30 a.m. CT on NBATV.

The Sky traded Delle Donne in the offseason to Washington for Stefanie Dolson, Kahleah Copper, and the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft.

Under normal circumstances, a star player who was traded away would be greeted warmly upon her return. Delle Donne, however, was notably unhappy in Chicago and wanted to move closer to her home in Delaware. The Mystics provided the perfect fit.

As the game has drawn closer, current Sky players have grown frustrated by the constant media attention. Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune wrote a telling story on Tuesday that included anecdotes like Tamera Young walking out of an interview after two Delle Donne-related questions.

Cappie Pondexter noted in the story that all of the Delle Donne attention seemed to be diminishing the accomplishments of the team as a whole.

"“People don’t understand that we competed a whole half of a season without her and we were still able to be (one of the last) teams standing,” Pondexter said Monday. “Don’t get me wrong. She’s a superstar player. Her presence on the court is important. But it’s a team sport. I think a lot of times we lose track of that and get so caught up on superstars that we lose track of what’s really going on with the team. … It’s the Chicago Sky. It’s all about family and that’s what we pride ourselves on. We want that to shine a lot more than one player leaving.”"

After the Sky lost to the Dream on Friday, Pondexter told reporters before a question was even asked, “don’t ask no Delle Donne questions either,” according to Ryan.

The full story is here and it’s well worth a read as anticipation builds for the Camp Day late-morning tip.