The Chicago Sky has signed Taliyah Jackson from Chicago, Illinois to a one-day contract for Friday, September 2 when the Sky hosts the Seattle Storm at Allstate Arena. The Sky, in partnership with La Rabida Children’s Hospital, will host 17-year-old Taliyah and her family for the day and fulfill Taliyah’s dream of being a professional basketball player.
“She has confidence, she has the grit, determination, she’s inspirational, and we think that can really help us today as we play Seattle,” said Sky Head Coach and General Manager Pokey Chatman.
Taliyah, who has Mitochondrial Encephalitis and Ataxia, and her family met the Sky players and coaching staff Friday morning for shoot-around at Allstate Arena. Taliyah was formally signed to the team at a press conference following shoot-around where she also fielded questions from the media.
“I want to say thank you to the team, for showing all your support on the field,” said Jackson. “What you all did downstairs [on the court] makes me proud and happy.”
For Friday night’s game, Taliyah will also experience pre-game shoot-around and accompany the team in the locker room and on the bench for the duration of the game.
“She’s got that personality we need, that spark…she’s so inspiring,” said Sky forward Elena Delle Donne. “We’re just really excited to spend some time with [Taliyah] and to call you a teammate.”
Taliyah’s condition can be described as a progressive degeneration of her brain, which results in abnormal movements of the body’s muscles, slowing her walking pace and speech.
Throughout the day Taliyah and her family will also enjoy the following experiences courtesy of Sky partners:
· Lunch for the entire family at Giordanos
· Limousine service to and from the game from Windy City Limousine
· Hotel room at the Sheraton O’Hare
This experience was made possible through Magellan Corporation. As part of its continued commitment to philanthropy, Magellan Corporation and the Chicago Sky have collaborated this season to help promote a number of the charitable organizations including La Rabida Children’s Hospital, Gilda’s Club, The Old Town School of Folk Music, and the DuSable Museum of African American History.