Elena Delle Donne (/ᵻˈleɪnə ˌdɛli ˈdɒn/; born September 5, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for the Washington Mystics of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).
The daughter of a real estate developer and his wife, Delle Donne inherited her 6'5" (1.96 m) height from both her parents—her father, who played college golf, is 6'6" (1.98 m), and her mother is 6'2" (1.88 m). Her childhood was marked by a struggle to come to terms with her unusual height. According to a 2016 ESPN story, her first memory was going on a shopping trip when she was 3 years old and hearing other shoppers tell her mother that an 8-year-old should not be using a pacifier. In third grade, her class was assigned to measure themselves using lengths of paper; she "was humiliated" when her paper extended well beyond those of her classmates. Within two years of that incident, a doctor wanted to start her on injections to stunt her growth; her mother refused. By the time she was in eighth grade, she was already 6'0" (1.83 m). Additionally, according to the same ESPN piece, Delle Donne had to come to terms with having "a body that could do a great many things that the body of her older sister, Lizzie, couldn't." Lizzie was born deaf and blind, is unable to speak, and also has cerebral palsy and autism. In another 2016 ESPN story, Delle Donne credits her mother with helping her accept her height: