Elena Delle Donne has always been protective of her sister Lizzie.
Yet when Gatorade approached her to do a commercial with Lizzie, who is blind, deaf, and has cerebral palsy, Delle Donne didn't hesitate to say yes.
''It was really exciting to see it all come together,'' Delle Donne said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Friday night. ''With Lizzie I'm very protective and general turn down interviews with her. But 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 2-plus minute short ''For the Wind'' that debuted Friday on the internet shows how the siblings communicate through hand over hand sign language. The reigning WNBA MVP says how wind itself plays a part in her life.
It's been a rough week for Delle Donne. She had surgery on her injured right thumb and is recovering in Chicago. Then also there was a leak of her health records after a hack into the WADA database that the agency says Russia is to blame for.
''In the end they can say all they want. I've never cut corners, I play this game to the best of my abilities and respect the game,'' Delle Donne said. ''Thanks for showing the world what the doctors have diagnosed me with and the medicines they've put me on. It's sad we live in a world where you can attack people through the cyber world.''
Filming the short with her sister was extremely important to Delle Donne.
''It's put so much in perspective,'' Delle Donne said. ''This one was special because it was supposed to come out before 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.''
The digital short is the first solo one by Gatorade with a WNBA player. The sports drink company has long been supportive of female athletes having commercials with Mia Hamm, Serena Williams and Abby Wambach.
''Gatorade is committed to the development and advancement of women in the game and we're proud to their stories on and off the field of play,'' said Kenny Mitchell, who is the head of consumer engagement for Gatorade.
Delle Donne said she flew home one day during the season to film the commercial with Lizzie.
See the Digital short online at: https://twitter.com/Gatorade/status/776860501636620288
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