SEATTLE - The Seattle Storm has signed one of the most recognizable and celebrated women’s basketball players of all time. Storm head coach Brian Agler announced today that Sheryl Swoopes, who was an original star of the WNBA during its inaugural season in 1997 and has spent her entire career with the Houston Comets, has been signed to a multi-year contract. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“Our team just got significantly better than it already was,” Agler said. “Sheryl brings a tremendous amount of talent and experience to our team this year. She is a proven player and leader in this league, and we’re looking forward to having her on the floor to compliment our current core of All-Stars. She has the ability to change the game, and with the talent that we already have on our roster surrounding her, this is going to be a memorable summer.”
Not only is Swoopes considered one of the best stoppers in the WNBA, she has established herself as a complete player in all aspects of the game. She has been named to the WNBA All-First Team five times (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005) and is fourth on the all-time scoring list in the WNBA with 4,399 total points.
“I’m really excited about continuing my career under Coach Agler in Seattle,” Swoopes said. “I’ve had a great career and I’m ready to win another championship. Being a part of the championships in Houston is a great memory, and I really like the team we have in Seattle this year. I’m looking forward to playing with Lauren (Jackson) and Sue (Bird) after competing against them for so many years in the WNBA.”
In 2006, Swoopes was named to the WNBA All-Decade team after leading the Houston Comets to four consecutive league championships in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000. She is one of only seven current players in the WNBA to be on an original roster during the league’s inaugural season in 1997. Swoopes is also a six-time WNBA All-Star and was named the game’s MVP in 2005.
Referred to by many as the “female Michael Jordan,” including in a July, 1996 interview on Late Night with David Letterman, Swoopes is a three-time Olympic Gold Medal winner (1996, 2000, 2004). She was a member of the undefeated USA Basketball Women’s National Team that played 52 games around the world to prepare for the 1996 Olympics. She was the first woman to have her own Nike basketball shoe named after her called, “Air Swoopes.” In 2001, she won an ESPY for Women’s Pro Basketball Player of the Year.
Prior to joining the WNBA in 1997, Swoopes led the Texas Tech Lady Raiders to the 1993 NCAA National Championship, where she scored an NCAA record 47 points in the championship game against Ohio State. She was named the Final Four MVP. Swoopes ranked second in the nation in 1993 with a 28.1 scoring average and was named the National Player of the Year. Her No. 22 jersey was retired by Texas Tech in 1994. She has worn the same number in her 11 years with the Comets, and will wear it in Seattle for the 2008 season.