Sam hears the applause as she is introduced at KeyArena Thursday night. Aaron Last/Storm Photos
Where Are They Now? Sheri Sam
Then: Starting SF, 2004 Championship Team
Now: Spent 2008-09 Offseason Playing in Greece and Israel
Stay tuned throughout the 10th Anniversary season as we check in with your favorite Storm players to see what they have been up to since the conclusion of their playing careers. We continue today with Sheri Sam, a starter on the Storm's 2004 championship team.
As the Seattle Storm put together the roster that would win the 2004 WNBA championship, Sheri Sam was the final piece. The Storm acquired Sam and Janell Burse from the Minnesota Lynx for the No. 6 overall pick in the 2004 Draft and Amanda Lassiter, giving the team the veteran small forward with size Head Coach Anne Donovan coveted. Sam earned the nickname "crooked number" for her ability to fill up a boxscore, averaging 9.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game. She started all eight of the Storm's postseason games, ranking second on the team in rebounding and assists.
At season's end, Sam became a free agent and the Storm was unable to compete with a lucrative three-year offer from Charlotte. Sam spent two seasons as a starter for the Sting and also played for the Indiana Fever before winning a second championship ring last year with the Detroit Shock as a reserve and part-time starter. Sam is good friends with Storm newcomer Shannon Johnson - the two even share matching tattoos on their wrists. Sam came to Seattle this week to visit Johnson and reconnect with her former teammates. She was introduced to the KeyArena crowd to a loud ovation during the fourth quarter of last night's Storm win over Sacramento.
At halftime, stormbasketball.com caught up with Sam to ask her about her time in Seattle and more.
No need to ask about a highlight of your time in Seattle. Can you put into words what it meant to win the championship?
Oh, wow. It was huge. It was my first championship. That team just had a bond. Even when we get together now and see each another, we know we had a special team and we always wonder 'what if?' that team had stayed together. That was a special team and that was a special year for us.
What do you remember about that team
We had so many good times. The road trips, the games we played on the bus rides, our pregame warmup with Simi (Edwards) doing her Jamaican rap. It was a great year - everything about it. My teammates, I remember them the most - from (Michelle) Greco to Trina (Frierson) to Chelle (Thompson) and Kamila (Vodichkova)and JB. It was just a great team. You talk about teams that win championships, you say there's that specialness. It's hard to explain it; it's just there. We had it.
What did you think of the city and the fans?
Seattle is my heart. Even though I only played here one season, it was an unbelievable season. It was unfortunate the way things work out, but I'll always love this place.
When did you first befriend Johnson?
Pee? Freshman year in college. We grew up in USA Basketball together, basically - from Olympic festivals to trips to Taiwan and China. We played against each other in college, her being at South Carolina and me being at Vandy in the SEC. It's just a friendship of two players competing against each other; we keep that bond. Now we're best friends. She's like my sister.
What's it like coming to visit her and catch up with some of your former teammates?
It's great, just seeing L (Lauren Jackson). I got a chance to catch up with her. Seeing them play is weird - I was saying, 'Wow, I've never sat and just watched a game.' Watching them play, it's great. I don't know about Sue - I can't really see her with those bright shoes she has on right now, but it's great to watch them play. Especially Sue (Bird) and Lauren, because they were such young players when I was here in '04. To see their game and how it's developed year after year and watch them play and see them now, it's special.
What's in your basketball future?
I'm definitely still playing in Europe. I'm just waiting on a couple of teams right now - staying in shape, keep working. I'm not done yet. I'm sure some team (will call); hopefully I'll find myself somewhere.