Chatting with a legend: Sheryl Swoopes

Credit: John Werner
Savanna Collins
Jun 09, 2022

Sheryl Swoopes is a four-time WNBA Champion, three-time Olympic gold medalist, and a 2016 inductee to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. She was the first player to be signed to the WNBA.

A Brownfield, Texas native, Swoopes wanted her college career to be near her hometown. After initially being recruited by the University of Texas, she decided to play at South Plains College and then transferred to Texas Tech after two years.

In 1993, Swoopes won the NCAA women’s basketball championship with the Texas Tech Lady Raiders during her senior season. Her jersey was retired by the school the following year, making her one of only three Lady Raiders to be honored in this way. She was a First Team All-America in 1992 and 1993 as well as being named the Naismith College Player of the Year and the WBCA Player of the Year her senior season.

Swoopes was chosen for the USA national team and competed in the 1994 World Championships in Sydney, Australia where she earned a bronze medal. She won her gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 2000 Sydney Olympics, and 2004 in Athens.

She has been a part of the WNBA since its inception as the first player signed to the Houston Comets for the 1997 inaugural season. She also became the first woman to have a signature athletic shoe: the Nike Air Swoopes.

A legend within basketball, her talk was a sit-down interview where she discussed basketball, motherhood, success, and what’s next in her life. You can watch Swoopes’ full TEDxBoston talk here:

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