The Chicago Sky women's basketball team made a 14-year-old girl's dream come true when they signed her to a one-day contract with the team.
Kiara Hood, from Blue Island, joined the team on Friday as they took on the Washington Mystics at Allstate Arena.
Kiara has hemiplegic cerebral palsy, which left her with a limp and weakened one side of her body. Despite the disability, however, she loves to play sports. La Rabida Children's Hospital, where Kiara has been treated for most of her life, partnered with the Chicago Sky to fulfill her dream of becoming a professional basketball player.
"Through her perseverance, determination and sheer grit in the face of adversity she displays all of the qualities that we want to be a part of our team," said Sky Head Coach and General Manager Pokey Chatman. "It's just a natural fit for us."
The Eisenhower High School freshman said she sometimes worries about what other people think about her, but on Friday she was treated just like any member of the team. The Chicago Sky gave her a tour of their locker room at Allstate Arena as well as gave her a jersey, a shooting shirt and a backpack.
"This is the coolest thing ever. It's something I'll never forget," Kiara said.
As much as her day with the team meant to Kiara, the players also learned something from her about the motivation to do their best.
"Anything that we're going to face this season doesn't compare to the obstacles that she's had to overcome," Sky guard/forward Elena Delle Donne said. "It really just puts things into perspective. I aspire to have that type of fight in me."