Inside the minds of WNBA players past and present

Have You Seen her?
WNBA Legend Cynthia Cooper

Honored at the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game as a member of the WNBA All-Decade Team, Houston Comets and WNBA legend Cynthia Cooper has not let up since retiring from the league in 2004. Not only is she currently working with the Rockets and Comets broadcasting teams, but she just finished her first season as the head women’s basketball coach Prairie View A&M University in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (The Lady Panthers went 7-22 Panthers this season). Yet, there is good reason to trust the two-time WNBA MVP, who also led the Comets to four straight WNBA championships. Named the WNBA Finals MVP during each of the Comets’ four championship runs, Cooper is the WNBA’s career points per game leader (21 ppg) in addition to averaging 4.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game.

Q. What was your motivation when did not feel like working out, running that extra mile, or waking up early?
"My one motivation has been my mom. I always want to please her and have her see me play at a high level. Also, the fans. I never wanted to be anything but great in front of them, so it motivated me to work hard every single day."

At left, Houston Comets and WNBA legend Cynthia Cooper, along with Lisa Leslie.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
Q. Was there a time in your career of playing basketball when you actually thought about giving up the game?
"I have a unique situation in that I played every position and didn't start out "a star." I was everything from a bench player to the sixth man to the go-to player. Early in my career, I didn't basketball would take me this far. I thought about other career paths, perhaps being a lawyer. I never really thought it would take me this far."

Q. Looking back on your stellar career, did you ever get up to play in one building over another?
"Number one has to be New York. Madison Square Garden… the history of that place is incredible and I feel honored to have been able to play there. Los Angeles was also a place I liked to play because I grew up there, to be able to see some old friends and have them get to see me where I am today. Finally, I really enjoyed playing in Cleveland. I thought the fans were very knowledgeable and they loved me. And I loved them back."

Q. So what else drives you? Have you set other goals you've set for yourself off the court?
"I love broadcasting and hanging around the game, the players and the life. I would love to get back into coaching as well. So not only do I want to continue my broadcasting career, but I want to help promote women's basketball and basketball in general. I also want to teach and relay some of my knowledge and experience to some of the younger athletes."