Griner, Delle Donne and Diggins dealt with bullies
NEW YORK (AP) -- Before they were college
basketball stars and the future of the WNBA, Brittney Griner, Skylar
Diggins and Elena Delle Donne had something else in common: They were
all bullied when they were kids.
The top three picks in the WNBA draft
talked to The Associated Press about a variety of topics Wednesday,
including how standing out in a crowd wasn't always easy.
"It was hard. Just being picked on for
being different. Just being bigger, my sexuality, everything," said the
6-foot-8 Griner, who acknowledged she is a lesbian. "I overcame it and
got over it. Definitely something that I am very passionate about. I
want to work with kids and bring recognition to the problem, especially
with the LGBT community."
Delle Donne, who is 6-5, said she was
also picked on when she was younger. Not just for her size, but also
because of her older sister Lizzie, who is deaf, blind and has cerebral
"Being way taller than the other girls,
they'd make fun of me," Delle Donne said. "Issues with my sister that
you wouldn't believe. People saying she looked like a monster. It was so
Diggins said girls are cruel and would make fun of her for "whatever it was that day."
The Notre Dame star, who stands at a
more pedestrian 5-foot-9, said she used to want to go back at those
people who would verbally attack her, but really learned a lot from the
way Griner has dealt with the negativity surrounding her.
"I don't think anyone has handled it
better than Brittney," Diggins said. "It's great to see how she handles
herself in this situation. People are cruel. She handles every situation
with such class and it's inspiring and she's taught me some things
about when people say bad things. She's a poster child for how to handle
Delle Donne remembers first meeting Griner at an All-America ceremony.
"We were all sitting there and no one
was talking to each other and then Brittney comes bounding in and broke
the ice with everyone just being herself."
The trio have become friends over the course of the season, tweeting and texting to each other.
Griner joked they aren't "getting
together for movies or alligator tails in Waco," but have developed a
kinship. Rooting for each other over the course of the season and
consoling when their college careers ended.
"I hadn't felt that way any other year," Diggins said. "I'd see them play and go, `Wow, she got fouled. That's not right.'"
Griner admitted also cheering for the other two during the season.
"People act like we shouldn't root each
other on," the two-time AP Player of the Year said. "Why not? Why do I
have to hope they fail, I want them to make it all the way. When we meet
on the court we put aside friendship and then when the game's over, we
can joke around again."
Diggins has big plans for the trio and
hopes they can play together in the 2016 Rio Olympics in a proposed
3-on-3 basketball event. Sure, the IOC Executive board first has to
approve the event on Aug. 9, but to Diggins that's just a formality.
"Think about how much attention it
would draw, the three of us playing together in the first one," Diggins
said. "It would be such a great honor. We would win. We would definitely