Wednesday, for the fourth straight year, the Minnesota Lynx held their “Dream Team’’ practice.
This has become a pretty big deal.
The group – this year composed of five girls – came to the team from Big Brothers Big Sisters, a partner of the Lynx FastBreak Foudation, and is composed of kids who may be facing difficulties or challenges in their lives.
Each of the five are signed to honorary, one-day contracts. Then each is paired with a Lynx player for some on-court activity.
“It’s special,’’ said Lynx guard Danielle Robinson, who was paired with a 10-year-old named Traniyah. As a young girl Robinson looked up to WNBA players. Now she gets to get another view of that relationship.
“To be on the other side of it, it’s special,’’ Robinson said again. “[Traniyah] was smiling the whole time. And I know that’s how I was as a kid. To be able to give back like this, it means a lot.’’
This is a tradition that has benefits for both sides. Wednesday, along with Robinson, Lynx players Karima Christmas-Kelly, Odyssey Sims, Damiris Dantas and rookie Napheesa Collier acted as mentors.
“For the girls getting to come and be a part of this is special,’’ Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “But the impact it has on us, and our staff, and to see the role models? They’ll never forget this day. All of our players, at some point, at a young age, experienced something like this, something that moved them. I had one young lady say to me the things she was looking forward to most was to see us work together. … And, obviously, a couple of them are using basketball to get away from real life things. It’s their happy place. There are so many ways this is impactful.’’
Traniyah said she heard she would be a part of this year’s dream team when her sister told her about a week ago. “I jumped and I started crying,’’ she said. “And I was yelling.’’
Her experience? Great, she said. “But it’s sad a little bit, because Maya Moore is not here.’’
The team will be honored at Target Center prior to Minnesota's game Saturday with the New York Liberty.