Sheryl Swoopes Q & A – Houston Comets

Sheryl Swoopes has become synonymous with success. As a collegian, the 6′ guard led Texas Tech to the 1993 National Title. A member of the gold winning Olympic teams in 1996 and 2000, she’ll once again play with the National team this August when they compete in Athens. As a professional, she’s helped the Houston Comets to four WNBA Championships, while garnering both league MVP (twice) and Defensive of Player of the Year honors (three times).

WB: The WNBA has introduced some new rules this season. What would you like to see changed?

Sheryl Swoopes: I would rather play with the big ball. I just think that there are so many players in the league that have played with the big ball overseas and in the Olympics that if we went to a big ball, it would be a much better game. People would start shooting better. The little ball – it’s hard to shoot with that ball. And on the rebounds, it bounces so far.

WB: With Janeth Arcain staying in Brazil to train for the Olympics and Cynthia Cooper retiring, there are a lot of new faces on the Comets’ roster.

SS: We are definitely in transition right now. There’s good things about that and there’s bad things. Some of the bad things are you don’t really know who you’ll be getting to “fill” those shoes. But, you’ve got to always be ready to adjust to new players. Some of the good things is you know people are going to work hard because they’re fighting for a job. I’m so very confident in our team right now. The players that we have added bring a completely different look to our team. We probably have the deepest bench we’ve ever had. We now have that true point guard that we really haven’t had since the death of Kim Perrot. Sheila Lambert came in and got us playing a more up-tempo game, which is one of our biggest strengths. Kedra Holland-Corn is a phenomenal defensive player. All around we’re a much better team. We’re starting to gel together and become the team I think we felt we could be from day one of training camp.

WB: This is your third Olympics. What do you remember of your first tryout in 1995?

SS: Sometimes I get really frustrated with myself now because I sometimes feel I leave the gym and I still have a little bit more to give. Back then in ’95, I knew I gave it my all, because I approached it like, “You know, this could be my last opportunity to play basketball.” There was no WNBA. We had the National Team, but what was I going to do when the Olympics were over? And, being one of the youngest players out there with Teresa Edwards and Katrina McClain, they made you work hard. They didn’t have to say anything – just their worth ethic. I left every practice and every game feeling so good about myself. I could have had the worst practice ever, but I felt like I gave it may all.

I hope the WNBA is here to stay. I hope it’s around forever. I don’t know if that’s going to be the case. So I’d like to go out there every single day and give it my all. Leave something behind for all the younger girls that are coming up so, when they’re playing, someone can say, “You know, you remind me of Sheryl Swoopes – not the way you play, but this is how she approached it every single day.” Last year I had people say to me, “Sheryl, are you thinking about retiring?” And it had never entered my mind. And I was like, “No why?” They said, “Because it didn’t look like you were enjoying it. You didn’t look like you were having fun.” And that hurt me worse than somebody saying, “Sheryl, you absolutely stunk tonight.” You know, it feels really good to hear someone say, “Sheryl, you had a great game tonight.” But it’s a much better feeling to me when I hear someone say “Sheryl, you had a great game, but, gosh, you looked like you were having so much fun.”

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