Comets star in Las Vegas for events and appearances
Swoopes Ready For All-Star Week
LAS VEGAS, NV, Feb. 13, 2007 — Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes has been keeping a low profile this offseason, choosing not to travel overseas to play and give her body a rest. Of course, she is taking a break from resting and getting involved in as many activities as she can here in Las Vegas. WNBA.com editor emeritus Matt Wurst caught up with Swoopes at the YMCA of Southern Nevada where she joined WNBA great Jennifer Azzi and former NBA stars Jerome Williams and Tim Hardaway to launch the new NBA Fit launch.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
Swoopes: "I've been traveling, but not out of the country. I really needed a break. I'm getting older and can't do what the young ones do anymore. My body needs a break, but I feel good now that I've taken a break"
Q. That's good, so you're rested and ready
Swoopes: "I figure if this is going to be my last season, then I had better make it a good one."
Q. What? Retirement? You?
Swoopes: "I don't know that. I said if. IF. If it is, I want to go out on top."
Q. Well first things first.
Las Vegas. NBA All-Star Week. You are certainly no stranger to these NBA events,
right? What are you looking forward to most?
Swoopes: "Being in Las Vegas, there is always so much going on. To bring the NBA All-Star Game here, where there is not an NBA team, I know everyone here is excited about it. Throughout all of the hustle and bustle that will be going on here, it is always fun. But for me, the one thing I'm looking forward to most is the off-the-court stuff. I'm probably doing more stuff away from the game, more than I have ever done in the past. Typically, the autograph signings and basketball clinics and camps, which are fun, take up much of our time. But for me to be a part of all of these activities, I'm just really looking forward to it. Out and about in the community."
Q. Do you think it shows a little bit more of who you are?
Swoopes: "Definitely. People know me as a basketball player and what I do on a court, but it's important for me to let people see another side."
Which NBA players are you looking forward to seeing? And who do you like watching
on the court?
Swoopes: "Over the last year, I have become a huge Dwyane Wade fan. I have always been a fan, but over the past year, I have really grown to appreciate his game. It's just effortless. He just amazes me every time I watch him play. He leaves wondering 'how in the world did he do that?' I enjoy seeing them all and just being a part of this experience. I have a list of autographs I have to get for my son, who is not here."
Q. This might be
the first time I've ever seen you without him.
Swoopes: "I know, and he said the same thing."
D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images
Q. Well it should still be fun.
Swoopes: "Yes, of course, though I am disappointed that Steve Nash will not be playing. Or Allen Iverson."
Q. Switching gears a bit, we talked
about the Comets a bit. This will be a new experience for you, playing without
Coach Van Chancellor. What are the expectations for this season? We don't know
who the coach is, still, right?
Swoopes: "No, not yet. Last I heard, they might make an announcement as early as this week, but I don't know when and I don't know who it is. I think it will be interesting, for lack of a better word. Coach Chancellor did so much for Houston, for the Comets and the league and women's basketball. More than what he meant to the people on the court, he'll be missed off the court. His candor, his attitude, his personality. He's a different character. At the same time, I'm excited and looking at this as starting over. A rebirth of the Comets. With a new owner and everyone new involved, it will be a challenge. Some people say change is not always good. I'm a believer that a change can always be a good thing. It will be a challenge for all of us, but one that I'm looking forward to."
Q. Tell me about this new owner,
Hilton Koch. Can he sell tickets like he sells furniture?
Swoopes: "I know that's his goal. I know that he will do everything in his power to bring everybody in the city of Houston to the game. His top goal is to sell season tickets and sell out the arena. He'll do it any way he has to do it. I see him as like a Mark Cuban of the WNBA. His personality is different. He said he's wear a mascot uniform and run around the arena to get people fired up. I've been fortunate enough to get to know him over the past few years and he is a great guy. Very down to earth and great personality. He may not know as much about basketball, but he is willing to learn. For him to step up to the plate the way he did, to keep the Comets in Houston, was huge. As players, we're thankful that he did."
Tom Donoghue/NBAE/Getty Images
Swoopes: "Lisa is a very smart woman. Having a son, been there and done that, the one thing I would say to her is to enjoy all of it. Enjoy the moment. When I found out I was pregnant, I was scared and nervous. I didn't know how the league would react. I did not know how I would be when I came back. I had so many thoughts. I don't think I enjoyed it as much in the beginning because I was so worried and concerned with everything surrounding my basketball. But then I realized that it was such a blessing. It's something I always wanted and enjoyed it. So I would tell her to enjoy this. I certainly won't miss her on the court playing with the Sparks, but I know that she wants to come back and in knowing what kind of person and competitor she is, I have no doubt that she will be back. It's a scary thought that she might come back better than she was before. I'm living proof that it can be done. Of course, the most important thing is her health."
Teammates one more time in 2008? Olympics? China? U.S.A. Basketball?
Swoopes: "(Laughs) Can we get through 2007 first? No actually, it's not that far away. Having gone through the World Championships and not having won the gold was very disappointing. It was a shock and I don't think any of us, those of us who had been there before, really knew how to deal with it. It has motivated me that much more to come back, work harder and have a great season. Then we'll compete in Chile to qualify in the fall. I would love to see my career end at the top of my game. If it's in God's plans for me to play in another Olympics and win a gold medal, I definitely would like to do that with Lisa."
Q. Is there
anything left in your career to accomplish?
Swoopes: "I have probably accomplished... no, not probably... I HAVE accomplished everything I have ever set out to accomplish and even more on the court, and people ask me what's left... I have the MVP's, championships, scoring title, Defensive player, etc... this is different now. Our team has been sold and we have new personnel. So many people are telling us this is never going to happen, that the Comets are done. That is something I want to prove wrong. I want to prove to people that it can be done the first year with a new coach and owner. It's going to be hard, but that's the challenge I have in front of me right now - to prove to people it can be done. That's my goal for 2007."