|Founded||February 8, 2005|
|Team colors||Sky blue, radiant yellow, black, white|
|General manager||James Wade|
|Head coach||James Wade|
|Ownership||Michael J. Alter|
Margaret Stender, Michelle Williams, Mathew Knowles
The Chicago Sky are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago, playing in the Eastern Conference of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). The franchise was founded before the 2006 WNBA season began. It is owned by Michael J. Alter (principal owner) and Margaret Stender (minority owner). The team experienced a period of success from 2013 to 2016, making four playoff appearances and playing in the 2014 WNBA Finals.
In February 2005, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that Chicago had been awarded a new WNBA franchise. The franchise was temporarily named WNBA Chicago. On May 27, 2005, former NBA player and coach Dave Cowens was announced as the team's first head coach and general manager. The team home would be the UIC Pavilion. The team name and logo formally debuted on September 20, 2005, at the Adler Planetarium. Team President and CEO Margaret Stender claimed the team colors of yellow and blue represent "[a] beautiful day in Chicago between the blue sky and bright sunlight to highlight the spectacular skyline." The team's introduction in Chicago was highlighted by the appearance of several star players, including former Rookies of the Year Diana Taurasi, Temeka Johnson, and Sue Bird and 2003 WNBA Champion Ruth Riley.
In November 2005, the team held an expansion draft to help build its roster of players. Among the notable selections were Brooke Wyckoff from the Connecticut Sun, Bernadette Ngoyisa from the San Antonio Silver Stars, Elaine Powell from the Detroit Shock and Stacey Dales (who had retired prior to the 2005 season) from the Washington Mystics.
On February 28, 2006, the team announced that two of the minority shareholders of the team are Michelle Williams, from the vocal group Destiny's Child, and Mathew Knowles, father of Destiny's Child lead singer Beyoncé Knowles.
In their first season, the Sky achieved a 5-29 record and finished last in the Eastern Conference. After the season, Dave Cowens resigned from the Sky to join the coaching staff of the Detroit Pistons. University of Missouri-Kansas City women's head basketball coach Bo Overton was named the Sky's new head coach and general manager on December 12, 2006.
The Sky recorded a league-worst 5-29 record in 2006. Despite having the highest odds of drawing the first pick in the 2007 WNBA draft lottery, the Sky ended up with the third overall pick, which they used to select Armintie Price. They would get the first pick in the dispersal draft of the Charlotte Sting, which they used to select Monique Currie.
The 2007 Sky would field a vastly improved team. The core group of players from 2006 along with some new additions helped make the team competitive. However, the team finished with a 14-20 record, two games behind the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Guard Armintie Price was named the 2007 WNBA Rookie of the Year after the season. On March 12, 2008, the Sky announced that head coach Bo Overton resigned his position of coach/general manager. Assistant coach Steven Key was named head coach/general manager.
With the second overall pick of the 2008 WNBA Draft, the Sky selected Sylvia Fowles. In the 2008 season, the Sky would once again fail to make the playoffs, posting a 12-22 record, finishing 5th in the East. Fowles was injured for most of the season (she was, however, selected to play on the winning U.S. team at the 2008 Summer Olympics, where she average 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game).
In the 2009 WNBA Draft, the Sky selected point guard Kristi Toliver with the third overall pick. Toliver had recently won the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with the University of Maryland, where she had shot a game-tying three-point basket to send the game into overtime. In the 2009 season, the Sky contended for a playoff position throughout the season, but finished with a record of 16-18 and lost a three-team tiebreaker to the Washington Mystics for the final playoff position.
Entering the 2010 season, the Sky moved to Allstate Arena in the suburb of Rosemont, Illinois. The team's roster underwent several changes, highlighted by the trading away of Candice Dupree and Kristi Toliver and the acquisition of Shameka Christon and Cathrine Kraayeveld. At one point during the season, they were at .500, just a few games back for the final playoff spot. However, the Sky ended up losing eight of their final ten games, eliminating them from playoff contention for the fifth consecutive season. They finished 14-20, sixth in the Eastern Conference. Key resigned as GM and coach, and was on October 28, 2010, by former LSU head coach Pokey Chatman as general manager/head coach.
The Sky selected Shey Peddy with the 23rd pick and Sydney Carter with the 27th pick in the 2012 WNBA draft. Peddy and Carter were both eventually waived on May 14, 2012. The Sky began the 2012 season 7-1, but finished 14-20 for the second consecutive season. The Sky remained the only WNBA franchise to never make the playoffs.
The 2013 WNBA season was a turning point for the Sky. They selected Elena Delle Donne with the second overall pick, as well as Brooklyn Pope, in the 2013 WNBA draft. Delle Donne became the first rookie to lead All-Star voting, averaging 18.1 points per game (fourth in the league) and leading the Sky to a 24-10 regular season record, finishing first in the Eastern Conference. Delle Donne, Fowles, and teammate Swin Cash received multiple honors (Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Peak Performer in Rebounds, and the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award, respectively). Chatman finished a close second for Coach of the Year. Delle Donne narrowly missed the MVP award, while Fowles and Delle Donne were named to the All-WNBA first and second teams, respectively. Reaching the playoffs for the first time, the Sky lost in the conference semifinals to the Indiana Fever.
Although the team's 2014 season record would be an unimpressive 15-19, the Sky qualified for the WNBA playoffs again and eliminated Atlanta and Indiana in the first two rounds, making it to the WNBA Finals for the first time. They were swept by the Phoenix Mercury in the finals series.
In February 2015, the Sky acquired Chicago native Cappie Pondexter from the New York Liberty in a straight-up trade for Epiphanny Prince. They finished 2nd in the Eastern Conference at the end of the 2015 season, but lost to the Indiana Fever in the conference semifinals. In the 2016 season, under the WNBA's new playoff format where teams were seeded regardless of conference, the Sky finished 4th in the league and returned to the playoffs, but lost 3-1 in the semifinals to the Los Angeles Sparks. The 2016 season was also the first of three consecutive seasons in which Courtney Vandersloot set a new WNBA record for assists per game.
The Sky hired Amber Stocks as head coach and general manager on December 6, 2016. During the 2016-17 offseason, in what was called one of the biggest trades in league history, the Sky traded Delle Donne to the Washington Mystics, receiving Kahleah Copper, Stefanie Dolson, and the Mystics' #2 overall pick in the 2017 WNBA draft. The Sky then missed the playoffs for the first time in five years in the 2017 season, posting a 12-22 record. In the ensuing 2018 WNBA draft, they selected Diamond DeShields and Gabby Williams in the first round. The Sky missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season in the 2018 season. On August 31, 2018, the Sky relieved Stocks as head coach and general manager.
In November 2018, the Sky hired James Wade as the team's new head coach and general manager. In the 2019 WNBA draft, the Sky drafted Katie Lou Samuelson, Chloe Jackson, and María Conde. Prior to the season, they signed Kayla Alexander and traded away Alaina Coates. The 2019 season would be a turnaround for the Sky, and they finished with a 20-14 record and entered the playoffs as a fifth seed. Wade received the WNBA Coach of the Year Award for the regular season, and Courtney Vandersloot exceeded her own assists-per-game record for the second straight season. Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, and Diamond DeShields were all named All-Stars, and DeShields won the All-Star Game Skills Challenge. In the playoffs, defeated the Phoenix Mercury in the first round, but then lost to the Las Vegas Aces on the road on a buzzer-beater in the final seconds.
|AMVP||All-Star Game Most Valuable Player|
|APP||Assists Peak Performer|
|COY||Coach of the Year|
|DPOY||Defensive Player of the Year|
|FMVP||Finals Most Valuable Player|
|MIP||Most Improved Player|
|MVP||Most Valuable Player|
|ROY||Rookie of the Year|
|RPP||Rebounding Peak Performer|
|SIX||Sixth Woman of the Year|
|SPP||Scoring Peak Performer|
|WNBA champions||Conference champions||Playoff berth|
|Season||Team||Conference standing (2006-16)
League standing (2016-present)
|Regular season||Playoff Results||Awards||Head coach|
|2011||2011||East||5th||14||20||.412||Sylvia Fowles (DPOY)||Pokey Chatman|
|2013||2013||East||1st||24||10||.706||Lost Conference Semifinals (Indiana, 0-2)||Elena Delle Donne (ROY)|
Sylvia Fowles (DPOY, RPP)
Swin Cash (SPOR)
|2014||2014||East||4th||15||19||.441||Won Conference Semifinals (Atlanta, 2-1)
Won Conference Finals (Indiana, 2-1)
Lost WNBA Finals (Phoenix, 0-3)
|Allie Quigley (SIX)|
|2015||2015||East||2nd||21||13||.618||Lost Conference Semifinals (Indiana, 1-2)||Elena Delle Donne (MVP, SPP)|
Allie Quigley (SIX)
Courtney Vandersloot (APP)
|2016||2016||WNBA[note 1]||4th||18||16||.529||Won Second Round (Atlanta, 1-0)
Lost WNBA Semifinals (Los Angeles, 1-3)
|2017||2017||WNBA||9th||12||22||.353||Courtney Vandersloot (APP)||Amber Stocks|
|2018||2018||WNBA||10th||13||21||.382||Courtney Vandersloot (APP)|
|2019||2019||WNBA||5th||20||14||.588||Won First Round (Phoenix, 1-0)
Lost Second Round (Las Vegas, 0-1)
|James Wade (COY)
Courtney Vandersloot (APP)
|2020||2020||WNBA||6th||12||10||.545||Lost First Round (Connecticut, 0-1)||Courtney Vandersloot (APP)|
|Regular season||224||274||.450||1 Conference Championships|
|Playoffs||8||14||.364||0 WNBA Championships|
The Sky was on radio for two seasons on WVON-AM 1690 with Les Grobstein on play-by-play and Tajua Catchings (whose sister Tamika Catchings is a star with the Indiana Fever) handling color. After 2008, WVON did not carry games any longer over a financial disagreement, and the Sky has not been on radio since.Their Home game only were carried on line during the 2008 season,but no Radio type play by play has been on since.
All games (excluding blackout games, which are available on ESPN3.com) are broadcast to the WNBA LiveAccess game feeds on the league website. Furthermore, some Sky games are broadcast nationally on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. The WNBA has reached an eight-year agreement with ESPN, which will pay right fees to the Sky, as well as other teams in the league.