“Female LeBron” Tells OTL “I was trying to force happiness” Sunday
Multi-Platform Report of Elena Delle Donne’s Leaving UConn & Quitting Basketball
December 24, 2008
ESPN’s award-winning Outside the Lines (Sundays 9 a.m. ET ESPN, noon ESPNEWS) will offer a multimedia enterprise journalism presentation telling the story of Elena Delle Donne, including her first television interview since the 2008 Naismith National High School Player-of-the-Year told University of Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma in August that she would not be playing basketball for the perennially powerful Huskies, or for anyone else.
Delle Donne, a 6-foot-4 guard whose skills had earned her the nickname the “Female LeBron,” tells reporter Mark Schwarz that she “couldn’t stand” basketball since she was 13. The Delaware native left UConn, where she had committed, and returned home to the University of Delaware where she began playing volleyball, and made the conference All-Rookie team.
Elena Delle Donne
From Sunday’s Outside the Lines:
“About age 13 I thought, ‘I don’t know if I want to do this anymore. It’s not fun.’ My teammates used to seem like they were having a lot of fun, and I’d look around like, ‘I should be having fun, too.” — Elena Delle Donne
“I was trying to force happiness upon myself, which I couldn’t find. I faked it really well because I didn’t want other people to know.” — Elena Delle Donne
“At camps, we’d have guest speakers who would say, ‘You got to have that passion for the game — that’s what will get you through to the next level.’ And I was thinking in my head, ‘I don’t have that at all.” — Elena Delle Donne
*Coming home and telling my parents — I mean, not many kids show up at their doorstep when they’re supposed to be at college – so I mean my stomach was spinning. They were just like, ‘Couldn’t you have tried it for a little longer? Maybe you’re just homesick.’ And I was like, ‘That’s not it at all. I don’t have the passion. I can’t keep doing this.’” — Elena Delle Donne, on the difficulty of returning home after leaving UConn workouts and summer school last June
“She’s like a totally different person than what I saw when she played basketball. I think she looked miserable. I think she looks a lot better now. She looks really happy.” — Meghan Bonk, Delle Donne’s Delaware volleyball teammate and high school friend
From Mark Schawarz’ ESPN.com piece
“I don’t know how you can play that much basketball and be that good at it and say, ‘I hate it since the time I was 13.’ To me those two things don’t go together — that you would be that good at something and not enjoy any of it. It’s hard for me to come to grips with.” — Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma
— 30 —