Although there are many modern day women trying to replace the OG Michael Jordan of women’s basketball, no one comes close to the infamy of the great Sheryl Swoopes.
Swoopes is showcasing hardware with the likes of Olympic medals, WNBA championships, MVP accolades, and holds a series of ‘first women ever to...’ The original trailblazer for females on the basketball court, no woman comes close to surmounting what Swoopes was able to accomplish in her career.
Follow along as we recount the career of the Michael Jordan of Women’s Basketball.
The Early Years: Junior College to Division-I
In 91’ Swoopes was named the National Junior College Player of the year. Her career took off when she transferred to Texas Tech.
At Texas Tech University Swoopes stacked up an impressive record of 47 points scored in a NCAA title game. She also led the Raiders to a 1993 NCAA national championship title.
Swoopes was named National Player of the Year in the same season and NCAA Final Four MVP. Tack on a Naismith National Player of the year and as a player who averaged 24.9 points and 8 rebounds throughout her entire Collegiate career.
It is understandable that no one has been able to touch the impressive college career of the female Michael Jordan of Women’s Basketball.
Representing Her Country: Olympics and USA Basketball
Swoopes wasn’t satisfied with her college career and moved on to represent the USA in multiple FIBA World Championships. During her play in the FIBA World Championships Sherylbrought home two bronze medals (94’ and 06’) and two gold medals (98 and 02’) in her four appearances.
Moving on to the Olympic court for Team USA, Swoopes wasn’t going to settle for anything less than the golden hardware. She appeared in the Olympic games in 1996, 2000, and 2004. The Michael Jordan of women’s basketball brought home gold medals in all three Olympic appearances.
Sheryl Swoopes was digging the groundwork for all women to break through on the basketball court.
Destined For The Professional Game: WNBA All-Star
The first female player to sign a Women’s National Basketball Association contract took place in October of 1996. Her WNBA contract and previous accolades caught the attention of Nike who jumped at the opportunity to offer the Michael Jordan of women’s basketball her own shoe and Nike contract.
In her first season of her WNBA contract, Swoopes was pregnant with her first child and missed 19 games of the season. Staying true to form, Swoopes returned to her team, The Comets, and led them to the first WNBA national title during the 97’ season.
Nothing was stopping her now. Throughout her WNBA career Swoopes gained a reputation as the Michale Jordan of women’s basketball. Her stamp on the game speaks for themselves: ALL-WNBA First Team, All-Star Games, National Championships, recording the first triple-double in league play, MVP awards, Defensive Player of the year awards, and the list goes on.
Simply put, there’s nothing Swoopes couldn’t do on the basketball court.
Tough Act To Follow: Her Legacy In Women's Basketball
With such an elusive career there is no doubt that Sheryl Swoopes was, is, and will always be the Michael Jordan of women’s basketball.
Swoopes continues to emerge herself in the game after her impressive career. She spent time coaching at the DI level with Loyola University in 2013 and working as Director of Player Development at her alma mater, Texas Tech University.