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Elena Delle Donne Is a Monster Giant Right Now

The Washington Mystics are the WNBA’s hottest team, and the Delle Devil is their supernatural weapon

Illustration of Elena Delle Donne destroying buildings with her eyes as other WNBA players run away Sean Mack

The story goes that one day Elena Delle Donne was at the park getting up some shots for death.

A quick aside: A more common turn of phrase to use here would’ve been that Elena Delle Donne was at the park getting up some shots “for fun.” However, Elena Delle Donne does not get up shots “for fun,” same as how, say, Anton Chigurh didn’t use the captive bolt pistol for fun in No Country for Old Men, he only used it to put holes in foreheads. That’s what Elena Delle Donne does with jumpers: She puts holes in foreheads. Sometimes, if she’s feeling especially kind, like maybe it’s her birthday or it’s Christmas morning, then she gets shots up “for critical injury.” That’s not a thing that happens very often, though. Mostly it’s just for death.

At any rate, the story goes that one day Elena Delle Donne was at the park getting up some shots for death. She was shooting from the left wing, she was shooting from the right wing, she was shooting from the free throw line, she was shooting from the top of the key, she was shooting from the right corner 3, she was shooting from the left corner 3, on and on and on, from everywhere and anywhere and all the where. And as she was finishing up, a wind blew across the blacktop. But it wasn’t a normal wind. It was one of those winds that happens in a movie where, after it blows, you know something weird is about to happen. It was a wind like that. It was a wind with intent. It was a wind with a purpose.

But so the wind blew, and Elena, a master of land and sea and several forms of wind, sensed that it was uncommon. And she turned away from the rim and faced the opposite direction. And her eyes narrowed. And there was no basket in front of her to shoot at, sure, but it didn’t matter. She rose up. And her legs were perfectly positioned. And her back was perfectly angled. And her shoulders and arms were so perfectly aligned that if you listened close enough you could hear Claude Debussy’s “Clair De Lune” playing faintly in the background. And normally she shoots with her right hand, but she was extremely in her bag at that moment, so she flicked the ball forward with her left hand just for death.

And I’ll remind you right now that, as I mentioned a moment ago, there was no rim for her to shoot at anywhere in the direction where she was shooting. But that’s what makes this story so special, or what makes Elena Delle Donne so special. Because she was not concerned with there not being a rim in front of her at that moment, because she knew that at some point, and at some time, possibly not that long ago but also possibly millions of years ago, there was a rim there. She knew it. She could feel it. She could sense it. She could smell it. She could literally smell it. She was a lion in the Serengeti.

Illustration of Elena Delle Donne shooting the ball. In the next frame, a dinosaur sees the ball going through a prehistoric hoop and says, “What the f*@k!” Sean Mack

So she shot the ball, and it traveled through the air, and when it reached its truest trajectory and contained the truest balance of fury and mathematical precision, a time warp opened up. And the ball, in an instant so fast that it was nearly imperceptible, vanished from 2018 and arrived back some time 150 million years ago in the past. And when it did, it swished right through a prehistoric rim without even touching a single prehistoric piece of it. And a Brachiosaurus that was grazing nearby saw it all happen, and when he saw it happen he was so moved by the event that he spoke one sentence in human English; he said, “What the fuck?!”

And that’s the story of the time a Brachiosaurus said the word “fuck.”


Illustration of Elena Delle Donne destroying buildings with her eyes as other WNBA players run away Sean Mack

The Washington Mystics have not lost a game in over three weeks. (They host the L.A. Sparks on Friday night.) They’re on a seven-game winning streak and have gone from being a team that was potentially going to have to fight their way into a playoff spot to a team that now has the third-best record in the league. (One of the wins, FYI, was a forfeit by the Aces after they opted out of playing the game against the Mystics following a nightmarish travel trip.) During that stretch, Elena Delle Donne, who has been the best player on the Mystics all season, has been a full-on catastrophe for opponents. In just the past four games of the win streak, for example, she’s shot nearly 60 percent from the field (!) and over 55 percent from 3 (!!) and has had only one turnover(!!). She’s a monster right now. She’s a giant right now. She’s a monster giant right now.


Some fun information: At the moment, Elena Delle Donne leads the Mystics in points scored this season. She also leads the Mystics in shots blocked this season. She also leads the Mystics in rebounds rebounded this season. She also leads the Mystics in free throws attempted this season. She also leads the Mystics in free throws made this season. She’s also first on the Mystics in win shares. She’s also first on the Mystics in usage percentage. She also has the highest player efficiency rating of anyone on the Mystics. And she’s second on the Mystics in field goal percentage, all the more incredible when you realize that she has taken over 100 shots more than everyone else on the team.


Here are some of the headlines that pop up if you search “Elena Delle Donne” in Google News right now: “Delle Donne Pours in 30 As Mystics Topple Liberty” (July 21); “Another 30-Point Game for Elena Delle Donne, Another Mystics Win” (August 9); “Race to MVP: Delle Donne Makes Late Push” (August 15); “Elena Delle Donne Has Decided She’s Just Gonna Fucking Body Everyone, I Guess” (August 15*); “Elena Delle Donne Wins Fourth Player of the Week Award” (August 13).

*This one isn’t actually the title of a news story. It’s a text that I sent to my cousin after she hit a 28-footer during the Mystics-Fever game earlier this week.


Illustration of Elena Delle Donne punching a megalodon shark Sean Mack

I heard a rumor that the movie The Meg, which is about a prehistoric megalodon that starts attacking boats and humans and whatnot, is actually based on Elena Delle Donne, though it’s unclear whether she was the inspiration for Jason Statham’s part or the megalodon’s part. Either way, I think it’s unfair that she wasn’t cast in the movie.


I feel like you maybe glossed over the thing earlier about her having only one turnover during this current four-game stretch where she has activated the full strength of her atomic power. If you drill a little further into that, you’ll find that she’s actually had only that one turnover for the entire seven-game win streak. Her turnover percentage for the season is 4.8 percent, which, per Mike Lynch from Basketball-Reference, is the lowest of any player who has played more than 10 minutes this season. It’s also the lowest in league history by a player who’s played at least 500 minutes. She’s also on pace to become the first WNBA or NBA player ever to average at least 20 points per game while averaging less than one turnover per game. And the closest anyone has ever gotten to that is when she nearly did it four years ago, which is maybe my favorite part of all of this.

There’s a lot going on here.

She’s a lot.

Maybe the most.