New York Liberty: Asia Durr tells her COVID story on HBO’s Real Sports

The New York Liberty’s first-round choice from the 2019 draft spoke about her bout with COVID-19 and her experience as a “long hauler”.

New York Liberty guard Asia Durr appeared on Tuesday night’s season premiere of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel to discuss her bout with the novel coronavirus, one that has carried on far beyond her recovery. Durr, the second overall pick of the 2019 WNBA Draft, opted out of the Liberty’s 2020 efforts in the Bradenton bubble due to her diagnosis.

Speaking with Real Sports correspondent Mary Carillo, Durr was showcased as one of several athletes who are still feeling the aftershocks of their battle with COVID-19. Such patients experience damage caused by the disease for months after their diagnosis. Symptoms of long-haulers include fatigue and shortness of breath, and spiked heart rate. According to Baltimore-based pulmonologist Dr. Emily P. Brigham, MD, who is also interviewed in Carillo’s piece, the condition is more present in women, including athletes.

Carillo presents Durr’s story as a “cautionary tale” in the story of long-haulers. Speaking through a video conference, Durr admits that a good day consists of going to the store or cleaning her home, a stark contrast to the heavy workload demanded from a professional athlete. Other days, she can’t get out of bed, an experience she compares to “get(ting) hit by a bus”.

“My life has completely changed since June 8,” Durr told Carillo, referring to the date of her initial diagnosis. “I was back-and-forth, seeing doctors, hospitals…I couldn’t breathe, I was spitting up blood…lung pain that was so severe, it felt like somebody took a long knife and was just stabbing you in your lungs each second. I woke up, 2:00 in the morning, vomiting, going back-and-forth to the bathroom. I couldn’t keep anything down.”

Durr confirmed to Carillo that she had lost 32 pounds as a result of her ordeal. The question of if she’ll ever play basketball again “has definitely crossed (her) mind plenty of times”.

Other affected athletes interviewed came from the collegiate level, including Concordia University runner Natalie Hakala and University of St. Thomas (MN) hockey player Nicole Knudson.

Following her appearance, Durr took to Twitter to thank well-wishers for their support and to encourage them to take the ongoing health crisis seriously.

“My hope is that in sharing my struggle, it will help others,” Durr said on her account, @A_Hooper25. “PLEASE take COVID seriously folks. It’s very real. Wear a mask! Protect each other. Young people, athletes, you too. We are not invincible.

She also assured Liberty fans that she was doing everything in her power to be ready for the 2021 season.

I am working every day to be back for this WNBA season!” Durr wrote. “My progress is slow and incremental, but I’m striving to gain momentum. Thankful for (the Liberty) for their patience & resources. This entire struggle has been a powerful reminder of all my blessings too.”

Durr’s full appearance on the monthly newsmagazine program can be viewed in its entirety on HBO Max (subscription required).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty: 2021 WNBA Draft Lottery staged for Friday

The New York Liberty will have the top odds in the 2021 WNBA Draft Lottery, which will be held on Friday night.

‘Twas three weeks before Christmas, but the New York Liberty could gain a special early gift later this week.

The WNBA has announced that the 2021 Draft Lottery will be staged on Friday night during halftime of the anticipated college basketball matchup between No. 20 DePaul and No. 5 Louisville. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, which will carry lottery proceedings for the ninth consecutive season. LaChina Robinson will host the reveal, which will be overseen by WNBA Head of League Operations Bethany Donaphin.

New York will have the best odds entering Friday’s drawing, which takes into account cumulative records over the past two seasons for the four non-playoff teams. Weighed down in a rebuilding effort, the Liberty went 12-44 over the past two showings, including a 2-20 mark in the WNBA’s abbreviated bubble season in Bradenton, Florida.

This gives them a 44.2 percent chance of securing the top overall pick for the second straight season. Last time around, the Liberty leaped from the second-best odds to essentially “win” the Draft Lottery for the first time in team history. New York used that selection to take college basketball sensation Sabrina Ionescu out of Oregon in the most recent selections last April. Ionescu partook in three games in the Bradenton bubble before an ankle injury prematurely ended her debut season.

Behind the Liberty, the Atlanta Dream (15-41) have the second-best odds at 27.6 percent, followed by the Dallas Wings (18-38, 17.8) and Indiana Fever (19-37, 10.4). The remaining picks in the first round, consisting of 2020 playoff teams, have already been sorted through the inversion of regular season records, which will likewise determine the full order for the second and third rounds as well.

Staging the Draft Lottery during a Louisville basketball holds a sense of irony for the Liberty. Three former Cardinals currently reside on the Liberty roster, including 2019’s second overall pick Asia Durr. While Durr opted out of the bubble endeavor, the team was nonetheless represented through Jazmine Jones and Kylee Shook, who were respectively taken with 12th and 13th picks during last spring’s draft. Jones was later named to the WNBA’s All-Rookie team, becoming the first New Yorker to do so since Brittany Boyd and current teammate Kiah Stokes earned the honor in 2015. Modern Louisville senior Dana Evans (18.0 points, 4.2 assists per game in 2019-20) is expected to be a first-round choice next spring.

Other big name prospects at the top of the 2021 draft board will include Rennia Davis (Tennessee), Destiny Slocum (Oregon State), and Didi Richards (Baylor). Texas junior Charli Collier has been pegged as a potential early entrant.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

BREAKING NEWS: New York Liberty G Asia Durr to miss 2020 WNBA season

The New York Liberty will be missing another guard in Florida, as 2019’s second overall pick has opted out of the upcoming season.

New York Liberty guard Asia Durr has elected to skip the 2020 WNBA season.

Durr, 23, revealed her decision on her social media accounts. In her statement, the Louisville alumna revealed that she tested positive for COVID-19 last month. The diagnosis played a major role in her decision to skip the upcoming season, which will take place in a bubble-like surrounding at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

“After much thought and consultation with my doctors and the Liberty, I have decided not to play the 2020 WNBA season,” Durr’s statement begins. “After testing positive for COVID-19 on June 8, my battle with it has been complicated and arduous. As I continue to fully recover, I had to make the difficult decision on a deadline to opt out as a medical High Risk player. So much about this virus is unknown and my heart is heavy, even as I make the decision that I know is best for my long-term wellness.”

The Liberty chose Durr with the second overall pick of the 2019 WNBA Draft. She had spent this offseason recovering from a groin injury that cost her 16 games of her rookie campaign and had undergone successful surgery in September. Durr averaged 9.7 points over 18 games (15 starts), with her season-best performance being a 20-point showing in a June win over Minnesota.

“Asia worked extremely hard this offseason to put herself in position to take a major leap forward in her second WNBA season,” said Liberty General Manager Jonathan Kolb in a team statement. “While we are disappointed that we will need to wait a bit longer to see her emerge as one of the bright young players in the game, we fully recognize and support the difficult decision she had to make amidst unprecedented circumstances. Brooklyn will be ready for her in 2021.”

Durr is the latest member of the Liberty to opt-out of the Florida endeavor, joining Rebecca Allen. Several others, including Marine Johannes, Stephanie Talbot, and Han Xu opted to remain overseas.

“I want to thank my teammates, the Liberty organization, our fans, and my partners for their compassion,” Durr said. “I plan to stay connected to the team virtually and support them on the court and in their efforts around social justice and activism from the bubble however I can. I hope you will do the same.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags