Olympic Gold Medalist and WBNA All-Star
Inspired by her mother, Louise, who single-handedly raised four children, WNBA All-Star Sheryl Swoopes has said that her first basketball memory is "going to nationals with the Little Dribblers team when I was eight years old." From that point on, she has continued to leave her mark on the game of women's professional basketball and women's athletics, establishing herself as a household name in the world of sports. She has played for the Houston Comets since the team's inaugural season in 1997.
Frequently referred to as "the female Michael Jordan," she is famous for both her offensive and defensive skills, and for being one of the most accomplished basketball players in history. The first woman to have a Nike shoe named after her (the Air Swoopes), she has achieved many respected accolades during her career. Many have named her as "one of the best players ever" in the game of women's basketball. She was also recognized and awarded a 2000 ESPY, she was named to the All-WNBA First Team in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2002, and to the All-WNBA Second Team for 2003. She was named the 2002 WNBA Player of the Year and received WBNA Defensive Player of the Year Awards in 2000, 2002, and 2003, and she has also recorded numerous double-doubles in her career. In 2003, she was nominated by BET for "Female Athleted of the Year" alongside Venus Williams, Serena Williams, and Lisa Leslie. She was also named by Ebony magazine as "2003 Sister in the Spotlight." In 2006, she became the third player in WNBA history to record 4,000 career points at New York.
A three-time Olympian, she received gold medals at the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic Games. In 2003, she was also a member of the USA Basketball Women's National Team that played 52 games around the world to prepare for the Olympics. An integral force in representing the US, she has participated in the 1994 Goodwill games, 1999 Winter European Tour, and the 2002 World Games.
Sidelined for the 2001-2002 season with a knee injury, she rebounded in the 2002 season with exemplary play and performance, earning the recognition of the WNBA League MVP. Those same levels of dedication, commitment, diligence, and perseverance are constants that Swoopes also exhibits in her endeavors away from the basketball court.
While she is honored to have received the distinguished accolades for her on-court presence, she is also proud of her accomplishments off-court. She is dedicated to educating, enhancing, and empowering our youth. Her activities in the community inspired her to establish the Sheryl Swoopes Foundation for Youth (SSFY).
She has served as an advisory board member for MADD, and is currently on the advisory council for the Talbots Foundation. She has appeared on the Today Show, The Weakest Link, and CNN's Paula Zahn Show, served as a guest analyst on ESPN, and was invited by President George W. Bush to join him for the opening ceremonies at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
A native of Brownfield (Lubbock), Texas, Swoopes attended Texas Tech University. She currently resides in Houston. In October 2003, in recognition of her past achievements, she was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame. In January 2004, she was honorably recognized as one of "Houston's Living Legends." In October 2004, she was inducted by Texas Governor Rick Perry into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame. In March 2005, she was profiled by the Houston Press in an anniversary issue as one of Houston's "most prominent individuals." In October 2005, she was recognized by her alma mater as one of Texas Tech's Distinguished Alumni.
In 2005, she announced that she is a lesbian, and became one of the most high-profile professional athletes to come out publicly. A single parent, she is the proud mother of one son, Jordan, whom she notes as being her most important achievement. In her spare time, she enjoys spending quality time with her son, playing volleyball, conducting camps and clinics, and traveling the country delivering inspirational messages to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.