The Chicago Sky’s principal owner Michael Alter took time in his schedule to speak to Worldwidewest after the Sky prevented the Atlanta Dream from clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference Sunday night. He became the principal owner of the Sky franchise in 2005. Alter is the President of the Alter Group, one of the country’s largest private commercial real estate developers. He has expressed his commitment and dedication to encourage opportunities for young women in professional athletics. This was evident this off-season.

In December, Sparks owner Paula Madison effectively gave up control of the team and returned it to the league. There was speculation the franchise would be bought by the Golden State Warriors and moved to the Bay Area or perhaps fold if nothing materialized.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported an investment group led by Magic Johnson and Mark Walter, the people who have injected new life (and money) into the Dodgers. Walter, a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Law, lives in the Chicago area and was called by Sky owner Michael Alter about the Sparks’ troubles to gauge interest in a possible purchase. That call eventually led to Walter, Johnson and their partners taking over the Sparks in February and keeping the WNBA viable in one of its most important markets.

Alter and I focused on his Sky team solely and other topics including how important the home win over Atlanta Sunday night was with the team aiming to clinch its second playoff berth in franchise history.

(L to R) Tamera Young, Swin Cash, Michael Alter, Michelle Campbell

(L to R) Tamera Young, Swin Cash, Michael Alter, Michelle Campbell

“Big win, with the playoffs ahead they are all big now, Atlanta is the best team in the East; obviously having Angel out made it a little easier. It’s good to see how they struggled in the second quarter offensively and they stepped up in the end. We’re starting to play better, having Elena back is a huge difference. It’s good we are coming together at the right time and hopefully getting healthy again,” Alter said.

On making the playoffs last season and expectations being higher…

“Coming off last year, we had that great year, we had everybody coming back for the most part, our expectations were quite high and I think rightfully so. No one expected these injuries, illnesses and absences. It has been a challenging year for the team. Some people don’t realize we have a young team. Pokey has done a great job managing all that stuff, you don’t realize how challenging that is to try to integrate all that. She has kept everyone positive. Hopefully now we are able to get some of that consistency and everyone getting used to each other. It’s kind of like training camp has been going on all year round and finally coming to an end. We have a solid team right now and going forward. Hopefully we make the playoffs and when we get in we make a real run at it. There is no one we cannot compete with.

On WNBA superstar Elene Delle Donne…

“She is great. She is a fantastic player, a unique player of her size who can handle the ball and shoot with range. It just makes such a challenge for any team and it makes it so much easier for her teammates. Off the court she gets what this is all about, she gets her role in it. She is so open and willing to participate and to do what the team needs her to do, what the league needs her to do to help build not just the Sky, but everything in the WNBA,” Alter stated.

Lastly, working with General Manager and Head Coach Pokey Chatman…

I am hands on, but I am very respectful of the fact that this is her team. That’s why she is the GM also. She makes the decisions; I am there to help her talk about things. Ultimately it is her call. She is accountable for the decision she makes, I don’t second-guess her. We have a great relationship and I have tremendous respect for her and what she had done. The players love her. We are very lucky to have her. I try to be a help when I can and not get in the way,” Alter stated.