When the WNBA hosts its All-Star Game in Minneapolis on July 28, LGBTQ fans may have a clear rooting interest in the game.
The two captains of the teams — Candace Parker and Elena Delle Donne — have selected their players, and there is one major difference between the two teams.
There are seven publicly out LGBTQ players we know of in the game, making up 32% of the players. They are:
- Seimone Augustus
- Sue Bird
- DeWanna Bonner
- Elena Delle Donne
- Brittney Griner
- Angel McCoughtry
- Diana Taurasi
When the dust had settled in the team draft, six of the seven players who have publicly acknowledged being LGBTQ to a member of the media were selected by Delle Donne, while only one of the seven players was chosen by Parker.
That almost a third of 2018 WNBA All-Stars are openly LGBTQ shouldn’t be a surprise. We have chronicled in the past that many women in elite-level sports have reported the number of LGBTQ women playing and coaching to be higher than the general population.
Yet it’s interesting that Delle Donne, for whatever reason, gravitated in selection toward the out players. Maybe it was totally random, maybe she just happens to be friends with those player. She hasn’t given much public insight into why she made the selections she did, but she did talk before the draft about her top pick.
“I know it’s top secret and I’m not supposed to give away picks, but I do get No. 1 pick in the draft and it will be Kristi Toliver,” she said. Toliver is her teammate with the Washington Mystics.
So it might not be a surprise that Delle Donne turned around and drafted together the three Phoenix Mercury All-Stars, all of whom happen to be out LGBTQ players: DeWanna Bonner, Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi. Rounding out the team with Sue Bird and Seimone Augustus certainly wasn’t a bad thing.
The lone publicly out player selected by Candace Parker was Angel McCoughtry. For her part, Parker brought together sisters Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike onto her team. So there definitely seemed to be an effort by the captains to bring together players who would want to play together, which is cool to see.
Whatever the method to Delle Donne’s draft strategy, she ended up with almost all of the publicly out players. That might make it easier for some LGBTQ fans to find a rooting interest in the game. ABC will broadcast the game this Saturday, June 28, at 3:30pmET.
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