Taliyah Jackson has always dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player, and thanks to the Chicago Sky women’s basketball team, she’s now an honorary member.
“It feels good,” the 17-year-old said.
Jackson suffers from Mitochondrial Encephalitis and Ataxia, a condition described as a progressive degeneration of her brain. It causes abnormal movements in her body’s muscles, slowing her speech and walking pace. She’s currently being treated for seizures at La Rabida Hospital, the very hospital that used its relationship with the Chicago Sky to help make Jackson’s dream come true.
“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.
Jackson had the opportunity to walk onto the basketball court at the Allstate Arena, meet the players and take photos with them Friday.
“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.”
She will also take part in a pre-game shoot-around and accompany the team in the locker room and on the bench for the team’s game against the Seattle Storm.
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.”