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'Lizzie has always been my strength'

Chicago Sky basketball star and Olympian Elena Delle Donne and Lizzie.

Screengrab from For the Wind

Chicago Sky basketball star and Olympian Elena Delle Donne and Lizzie.

Elena Delle Donne has always been protective of her older sister Lizzie.

Yet when Gatorade approached the basketball star to do a short film about her bond with Lizzie, who is blind, deaf and has cerebral palsy and autism, Delle Donne didn't hesitate to say yes.

"It was really exciting to see it all come together," Delle Donne said.

"This was such a special concept so worth sharing with the world. She's so inspiring, and if I can share her gift with as many people as possible and she can inspire some people it's so worth it."

The two-plus minute short For the Wind debuted online Friday and tells the story of why the Chicago Sky forward and reigning WNBA MVP left the powerhouse UConn program after just 48 hours on campus so she could continue to spend time with Lizzie. She then enrolled close to home at the University of Delaware.

"Everyone thinks I came home to help her, but she was the one helping me, getting me out of the worst rut of my life" Delle Donne, 27, says in the film. "She gives me perspective."

As Adweek says: "It's a powerful sentiment, stunningly captured, as the athlete reflects on the sheer joy her sister gets from something as simple as the feeling from a gust of wind."

The only way for her loved ones to communicate with Lizzie is by touch and smell. Filming the short with her sister was extremely important to Delle Donne.

"It's put so much in perspective," she said. "This one was special because it was supposed to come out before (the WNBA) playoffs and be a little bit of a pump-up. But now it's pumping me up in other ways. I can talk about her all I want, but until you see the way she interacts with not just me, but my family as well, it's a really powerful thing to share that with everyone."

Gatorade also created a temporary art installation by artist Michael Murphy outside of the Sky's home, Allstate Arena, that creates different images — including one of Delle Donne — by using 1,606 wind spinners.

"When that wind blows and kicks up," she told ESPN.com, "it's gonna always remind me of Liz."

'Lizzie has always been my strength' 09/20/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 8:20pm]
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