While growing up in Chicago, forward Leslie Robinson idolized the Sky. She remembers attending some of the team’s first events during the summer after fourth grade in 2006. She also wore a Sky sweatshirt her parents bought her everywhere she went.
Robinson’s story came full circle last week when she signed a training-camp contract with the Sky. News of the deal broke after she was added to the team’s online roster Monday, though the Sky haven’t officially announced it yet.
‘‘I wasn’t fully anticipating it, so it was a really, really good surprise,’’ Robinson told the Sun-Times in a phone interview Monday. ‘‘It’s really neat for it to come full circle and to have this opportunity. It’s really a great experience.’’
But Robinson, the daughter of Knicks vice president of player development Craig Robinson and a niece of former President Barack Obama, is also aware nothing is guaranteed.
Robinson already has experienced disappointment in the WNBA. After being selected 34th overall out of Princeton by the Liberty in the 2018 draft, she failed to break camp with the team and wasn’t picked up by another organization.
That letdown motivated her to push forward. After sharpening her skills last summer, Robinson went to Germany in September to play professionally with the Krofdorf Knights. In 20 games, Robinson averaged 22 points, 12.6 rebounds and 2.5 steals and shot 54.4% from the field.
‘‘I focused on my guard skills and being able to shoot and ball-handle a little bit better,’’ Robinson said. ‘‘I’ve become more versatile on the court. [I also] know myself more and know how to be a better teammate on the floor and to be a better leader. [That] has really been something that I’ve built on my game.’’
Robinson said she thinks having a season of pro basketball under her belt will put her in a better position to stand out at the Sky’s camp.
‘‘This last year overseas really, really helped with everything — being a player, being a teammate, my skills, my head space,’’ she said. ‘‘I think any type of experience professionally will give some women the upper hand in these training camps, just because you understand the game and understand the mindset that you need in order to succeed.”
With the addition of Robinson, the Sky have completed their roster for training camp, which opens Sunday. They have 18 players — including four on training-camp contracts — vying for 12 spots on their opening-day roster.
Robinson said she thinks her versatility as a 6-foot forward and her enhanced ballhandling skills put her in a good position to be with the Sky when they open the season May 25 against the Lynx.
‘‘I’ll do anything for my team, no matter what that is,’’ Robinson said. ‘‘That’s the player I am.’’