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How Danita Johnson Is Flipping the Field

Courtesy of Zach Abaie

Sports Illustrated and Empower Onyx are putting the spotlight on the diverse journeys of Black women across sports—from the veteran athletes, to up-and-coming stars, coaches, executives and more—in the series, Elle-evate: 100 Influential Black Women in Sports.

When Danita Johnson was announced as the next president of business operations for D.C. United in December 2020, switching fields took on deeper meaning. Johnson was coming from the WNBA, after five nonconsecutive years with the Los Angeles Sparks. And even though the expectations ran high in that organization and the wider fight for fans in L.