New York Liberty select Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu first overall in 2020 virtual WNBA draft

WNBA also honored Kobe and Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester in virtual draft ceremony.

Posted: Apr 18, 2020 11:57 PM
Updated: Apr 19, 2020 12:04 AM

The first-ever WNBA draft was definitely one to remember. This year's draft ceremony was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Friday, League Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced each draft pick from her home with top prospects standing by via livestream for reactions. 

For the first time in WNBA history the New York Liberty held the first overall pick and selected Sabrina Ionescu out of Oregon. 

This season Ionescu became the first player male or female to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in the NCAA. 

During the ceremony Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester were selected as honorary draftees. The three young basketball players had dreams of playing in the WNBA before the tragic helicopter crash that took their lives and Kobe Bryant's in January. 

The WNBA also created the Kobe and Gigi Advocacy Award which will recognize those who make contribution to the visibilty, perception and advancement of girls' and women's basketball. 

Ionescu and Kobe held a special bond. She spoke at his funeral service. The day after the draft, On her Instagram story, Ionescu posted a picture of the two of them and captioned it, "I know you're looking down on me smiling. We did it. I got drafted #1. More work to do. Love and miss you." 

The New York Liberty held two more picks in the first round. Megan Walker (UCONN) was selected as the 9th overall pick. Jazmine Jones (Louisville) was selected 12th overall. 

The league has postponed the start of training camps and the season due to COVID-19. It was originally scheduled to begin May 15. 

 

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