Dilisha Milton Jones Inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame – Orange County Record

It isn’t usually {that a} Corridor of Fame catches a brand new inductee unexpectedly; In any case, often, the athletes on the receiving finish of these calls are totally conscious of how nice they’re.

However when Sparks’ former celebrity Delisha Milton Jones obtained phrase in February that she could be inducted into the Ladies’s Basketball Corridor of Fame — she would put on a navy blue robe at Saturday’s induction gala in Knoxville, Tennessee — she was surprised.

Not as a result of she wasn’t nice, however as a result of, throughout her 17-year profession within the WNBA, she was unnoticed of the awards.

Not this time.

The previous striker can be recruited as a part of a category of eight, together with former WNBA star and present coach Becky Hammon of the Las Vegas Acces — whose Sparks will face head coach Fred Williams’ first look with the squad on Saturday on the Crypto.com Area.

As a WNBA coach for the league’s almost 26 years in existence, Williams can let you know that Milton Jones, who’s now the top coach of Outdated Dominion College’s ladies’s basketball, has been revered by opponents, no matter whether or not she’s obtained accolades.

“You did not need to see it inside that paint,” Williams stated. “She was like Miss Double-Double subsequent to Tina Thompson. You understand, Delisha is simply an incredible particular person, a human being…a really skilled participant. Very skilled.”

That professionalism could have helped the groups win (she contributed to 2 Sparks WNBA Championships), however she thinks it could even have helped put her off the background.

“I felt like I did it the correct manner, and generally once you do it the correct manner, you are not at all times acknowledged on the facet that you just need to be acknowledged,” Milton Jones stated this week, through Zoom. From Colorado Springs, the place she was an assistant coach for the USA ladies’s under-18 basketball crew.

“I’ve performed in some super groups the place the beginning 5 may have been the begin to the All-Star Workforce. We may all have had votes and bids yearly, however two, perhaps three of us would lose 12 months after 12 months.”

Milton Jones has numerous accolades: She’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and earned a spot on these 12 ladies’s groups that symbolize the very best US gamers.

She can be seventeenth in WNBA historical past in factors (5571), eleventh in rebounds (2,574) and second in video games performed (499). she twice Completed within the high ten within the league In thefts, blocked pictures or 3-point capturing proportion – and 3 times it was the highest 10 in defensive rebounds, area objective proportion, defensive win shares and minutes.

Drafted from Florida with the No. 4 total decide by Sparks in 1999, Milton Jones’s cheerful, sassy undertone was impressed by the nickname “Sunshine.” However additionally they referred to as her “D-Nasty” due to her toughness on the courtroom: She’s nonetheless a WNBA member. All-time chief in private errorsthough Phoenix star Diana Taurasi is near competing, Milton Jones’s under-60 successor is 1,574.

And Milton Jones — who performed two seasons within the short-lived NBA in addition to abroad in Russia, Spain and the Czech Republic — has at all times taken her job as a job mannequin and a WNBA pioneer very significantly.

“I felt like within the NBA, all of us have a accountability to uphold — to assist this league keep longevity,” she stated. “It wasn’t nearly what it may do for us proper now, it was how lengthy may it proceed right here sooner or later? How may it have an effect on individuals’s lives and alter individuals’s mindsets when it comes to the best way they give thought to ladies in sport, the respect we deserve or The disrespect we give to us How can we modify all of that?

“I used to really feel a specific amount of pleasure and bondage hooked up to each time I skilled, each time I hit the ground to play and prepare. I needed to ensure I put the very best product on the market as a result of when somebody noticed me, they noticed the WNBA.”

However Milton Jones has solely received the WNBA All-Star twice, and she or he’s by no means been an All-WNBA decide. Workforce Sparks retired with solely two jerseys: Lisa Leslie’s No.9 jersey and No.11 Penny Toler jersey.

That is why the admission from the Corridor of Fame appeared so sudden, so purposeful, as Milton Jones stated this week, and her emotion is palpable as she speaks.