The first major sports draft amid the coronavirus is finally in the books.
The 2020 WNBA draft kicked off last night, and to absolutely no one’s surprise, Oregon superstar Sabrina Ionescu was the top pick. She was selected by the New York Liberty during Friday nights virtual draft that saw all the college athletes posted up in their homes as was WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert as she announced the selections.
With all the hard work she’s been putting into the game from such an early age, Ionescu is happy to see it all pay off as she looks to take her talents to the next level.
“I’ve been working for this for my entire basketball career and super excited to see that come to fruition,” Ionescu told ESPN from her home in California. “I’m very humbled and excited for the opportunity.”
The 22-year-old has become a beacon for women’s basketball while playing for Oregon, and her fans let her know it in the most authentic way possible. Within an hour of her being the first No. 1 overall pick, her Liberty jersey was completely sold out.
The Ducks have had a pretty heavy squad lately so Ionescu’s teammate Satou Sabally was the second player off the board and will be joining the Dallas Wings. It even earned her a shoutout from fellow countrymen and Dallas legend Dirk Nowitzki.
“German culture in Dallas is growing and I’m just super excited,” Sabally said of her newly adopted Texas city.
But when it comes to the draft, it’s hard not to mention those who helped shine a light on the importance of the WNBA the past few years. But unfortunately, after the deadly helicopter accident that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter GiGi they were unable to see the event rise in popularity. However, the WNBA did an amazing thing by deciding to honor 13-year-old GiGi, Alyssa Altobelli, and Payton Chester –the two other teens who passed in the crash– by naming them all honorary picks with their jerseys shown on the jumbotron.