Cynthia Cooper Announces Retirement

Cynthia Cooper is a four-time WNBA Finals MVP.
Bill Baptist
WNBAE/Getty Images
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May 2, 2004 - Houston Comets guard Cynthia Cooper announced today that she is retiring from the WNBA. A two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player (1997, 1998), Cooper finishes her career with averages of 21.0 points, 4.9 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 124 games with the Comets.

Cooper (5-10, USC ‘86) announced her return to play for the Comets on April 29, 2003, after serving as head coach of the Phoenix Mercury. She averaged 16.0 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds in four starts last season. Cooper became the oldest woman to play in a WNBA game at 40 years, one month and eight days, scoring 11 points with seven assists vs. Seattle on May 22. She scored a season-high 22 points in back-to-back games vs. Connecticut on May 30 and at Minnesota on June 1. Cooper suffered a right shoulder rotator cuff tendon tear at practice on June 2 and was placed on the injured list on June 5. She underwent successful season-ending surgery to repair the torn rotator cuff tendon in her right shoulder on June 13. Despite the injury, Cooper was voted in as a starting guard to the 2003 WNBA All-Star Game.

During her remarkable playing career, Cooper helped the team win four consecutive titles and was named WNBA Finals MVP in each of the championship runs (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000). She ranks as Houston’s all-time leader in scoring average (21.0), free throw percentage (.871) and assists per game (4.9). Cooper became the first player in WNBA history to reach the marks of 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 2,500 points. A four-time All-WNBA First-Team member (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000), Cooper was voted in as a starter to three WNBA All-Star Games (1999, 2000, 2003). Cooper, who topped the league scoring in 1997 (22.2 ppg), 1998 (22.7 ppg) and 1999 (22.1 ppg), recorded 16 games of 30-plus points in her career. She also recorded the first two 40-point games in WNBA history (44 at Sacramento on July 25, 1997; 42 vs. Utah on August 16, 1999).

Cooper, who has made Houston her home, just finished her first season as studio analyst and halftime feature reporter for the Houston Rockets broadcast team. She was selected as one of 38 Houston sports legends honored at the opening ceremonies for Super Bowl XXXVIII: A Houston Salute on January 26, 2004. Cooper is also working on a line of women’s athletic wear called “One 4 Clothing.”


  • 4/29/03: Cynthia Cooper announces return to Comets
  • 4/29/03: Cooper press conference announcing return
  • 5/2/03: Cooper's return highlights camp
  • VIDEO (5/23/03): Coop's first bucket after her comeback: 56k | 300k
  • 6/3/03: Cooper suffers injury
  • 6/3/03: Comets doctor comments on Cooper injury
  • 6/4/03: Coop talks about her injury
  • 6/12/03: Cooper out for the season
  • Photographic Memory: Cynthia Cooper