There has been growing talk about the discrepancies between how men’s basketball is received versus women’s basketball in the past few months. Now WNBA superstar Elena Delle Donne has found herself called out of her name – or more accurately, misprinted out of it. Nike’s latest run of jerseys incorrectly hyphenated her last name, and a Nike brand spokesperson acknowledged the gaffe. “Unfortunately, an error was made on the uniform,” the company said in its press statement, “and it will be corrected.”
News of the mistake spread after some Washington Mystics fans showed off their new jerseys on Twitter, and it became obvious to basketball fans that the WNBA champion and two-time MVP’s name was wrong. Note that sports leagues will regularly showcase the upcoming season’s sportswear to drum up attention and get early feedback as well.
Now, on the men’s side of things, NBA players have had their last names misprinted before, including retired Dallas Mavericks great Dirk Nowitzki and the Los Angeles Lakers’ recently acquired center Andre Drummond. However, those mishaps occurred during years when Adidas was the official provider of apparel for the NBA, the WNBA, and their affiliate leagues. In fact, it was one final spate of errors that played a large role as to why the leagues made the switch to Nike three years ago.
Furthermore, Delle Donne is one of the Swoosh’s highest-profile and most bankable endorsers, and that makes such a gross oversight more embarrassing. In a 2018 sit-down for the podcast Uninterrupted with Maverick Carter, Delle Donne talked about how male ballers are treated differently from women ballers and griped how “women aren’t valued the same way that men are in the workforce. It gets frustrating, but you’ve just got to continue to fight the battle… it’s just lip service.”
According to Khristina Williams, the founder of the media platform Girls Talk Sports TV, fans can still look out for WNBA jerseys to officially make their appearances on April 8. So hopefully, Delle Donne’s name will be sans hyphen by then.
But for her part, Delle Donne’s Mystics teammate Natasha Cloud was having none of it and made sure to respond to Williams’ tweet to defend her star forward. “We can’t have nothing🙈 , and who the hell hyphenated dellas last name!?,” she wrote. “Y’all would never see a mistake like that to a franchise player on the men’s side. DO BETTER.”