Guard Kahleah Copper became a fan favorite after a video of her taking selfie videos with several young fans before a Sky game circulated on Twitter earlier this season. But this wasn’t a one-time encounter.
Before each game at Wintrust Arena, Copper can be found near the sideline snapping pictures and talking to young fans, who are often in packs wearing matching basketball T-shirts.
Copper genuinely enjoys interacting with fans. It wasn’t too long ago she was the young girl waiting on the edge of the court in hopes of getting a player like former WNBA star Cappie Pondexter’s attention at Rutgers games.
“I can see myself in some of those kids,” Copper said before the Sky beat the Aces 87-84 on Friday in Las Vegas. “I remember how it made me feel when my favorite player responded to me . . . or gave me the time of day.”
Copper wears many hats for the Sky. Being a team ambassador is just one of them.
Before the game, Copper facilitates handshakes with the five starters. Center Stefanie Dolson said the role was made for Copper.
“She’s a high-energy teammate,” Dolson said. “She’s always having fun with everyone, and clearly she has the best memory. She hasn’t messed up all year.”
During games, Copper is an athletic, do-it-all guard who can spread the floor.
“For us to have someone like Kah who can come in and speed up the game a little bit, drive down people’s throats offensively and then defensively get up in them, it’s a huge advantage,” Dolson said.
Copper’s game has improved in her fourth season. She’s reading defenses better and looking out for her teammates more. She leads the Sky’s bench, averaging 7.3 points.
“It goes to her work ethic,” coach James Wade said. “She’s become a more complete player.”
Along with being a natural leader and having many skills, Copper has the fun-loving personality that meshes well with teammates and the Sky’s fan base, which the organization desperately needs to grow.
But there’s a chance she might not be here next season.
Copper, who is in the final year of her rookie contract after the Sky exercised their team option last offseason, isn’t motivated by the idea she’s playing for a new deal. Her goal is to win a title.
“I don’t get all wrapped up in it,” she said. “I just take it day by day. I don’t want to put pressure on myself. I know what I’m capable of.”
Wade, who is also the Sky’s general manager, wouldn’t say much about the six players whose contracts expire after this season. “I like our roster,” he said multiple times.
Copper is also a fan of the personnel on the team. She said it’s hard for people outside the locker room to comprehend the bond the players have formed this season. Because of that, Copper would like to stay with the team beyond this season.
“If I could stay here forever with this group, it would be awesome for me,” she said. “And to win a championship with them, these are like my sisters.”