Philadelphia native and Chicago Sky forward Kahleah Copper was one of 12 WNBA players named to the 2021 All-Star team Wednesday. Copper is the first Philly native since Dawn Staley in 2006 to make the team.
The region has had its share of basketball talent. Locals such as Wilmington native Elena Delle Donne, Harrisburg’s Alyssa Thomas, and South Jersey stars Tamika Catchings and DeMya Walker are a few. But Copper joins the five-time All-Star Staley as the only players from Philly.
“It means everything,” Copper said. “First of all, thank you, Dawn, for paving the way. I’m sorry it’s been so long, but here I am.”
Copper is averaging 13.9 points and 4.9 rebounds this season. The Sky are the second seed in the Eastern Conference and have an 8-1 record since Candace Parker’s season debut after a left ankle injury.
Last season, Copper became one of the league’s most improved players in the WNBA “wubble” at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. She was a full-time starter for the first time in her career and averaged 14.9 points per game, more than double her previous career high.
Her production is still high this season, and she’s surrounded by more star power. Teammates Candace Parker and Courtney Vandersloot were also named WNBA All-Stars.
New York Liberty star and Clayton, Del., native Betnijah Laney was also named to the All-Star team for the first time in her six-year career. Laney and Copper both played at Rutgers. Laney is averaging a career-high 19.7 points and 5.3 assists per game.
Laney is the daughter of former Cheyney State basketball star Yolanda Laney.
The 12 All-Stars were selected from the top 36-vote getters who weren’t included on Team USA’s 12-member roster. The All-Star team will play Team USA at 7 p.m. on July 14 in Las Vegas on ESPN.
“I just want to enjoy the experience with the greats,” Copper said. “I’m just going to take that all in and just not forget to have fun.”