WNBA Swoopes and Thompson Chat from Houston
When you think women's basketball greatness and WNBA dynasties, it's hard not to think about Houston Comets stars Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson.
These two active legends have so much in common - all of the All-Star Games, the Olympic gold medals, the four WNBA championships, their love of shopping and their roles as dedicated mothers. They have lifted each other's games, stepped up in each other's absences and became great friends through it all.
Last season, the pair led the Comets to the Western Conference Finals before falling to the eventual-champion Monachs, but not before Swoopes recorded the first-ever playoff triple-double. She also won the 2005 WNBA Award as well as the All-Star MVP Award.
Now as they prepare for their their tenth season together with the storied franchise, these two perennial All-Stars and true legends of the game will join us live during NBA All-Star Weekend in their hometown of Houston to share their memories with fans and look ahead to the 2006 season.
The pair chatted live with fans on Friday, February 17.
Moderator: And Sheryl is with us now. Welcome back to the United States, Sheryl. Let's get to the questions...
Marta (Beaumont, TX): What are some of your favorite moments from the past nine seasons? Also, any free agency gossip about what the Comets are doing that you can share? Thanks and all the best!
Sheryl Swoopes: My favorite memory - obviously winning 4 championships with the same team was very special... gosh - there are so many of them. I am just grateful for the opportunity to see some of the best players come and go - and I'm still here hanging in with the young ones. Having an opportunity to still be playing is more than enough for me. For free agency stuff... not really. I never really get involved with that. I like it when it is a nice surprise to see who went where. The front office - I leave it to them.
Heather (New York, NY): Hello Sheryl and Tina, As two of the last remaining original WNBA players, what does it mean to you that the league is now celebrating its tenth anniversary? Seems crazy.
Sheryl Swoopes: For me, I guess I would say it is a remarkable feat. When hte league started, there were a lot of doubts as to whether it would last. Here we go again, they'd say. But to see us now in our tenth season, and very successful with the fan base, it's very special for me to say I've played on the same team for ten years and get to play with some of the best players like Coop, Tina and Kim. Those are special moments for me and I feel blessed.
Brennan, Mobile, AL: Hi ladies - with everyone in Houston this week for NBA All-Star, do you think the WNBA All-Star Game would ever come to the Toyota Center?
Sheryl Swoopes: We raise this question many times. I think the Toyota Center is beautfiul and a wonderful place to play, but the challenge is that our fan attendance is down. Until we can fill the seats, we have to get the attendance up, then they will consider bringing the game to Houston. But I do think it is possible.
Felicia Kearse(orlando): Hey guys what's up. I wonder do you think your chances of winning a title this year are better than any other year? If so then why?
Sheryl Swoopes: I will start off by saying our chances are as good as anyone else. Lots of teams are making lots of changes. With free agency, you have players changing teams, so depending on who goes where and the resulting chemistry, then the chances are equal for anyone at this point.
Brooke (Atlanta, GA): Hey Sheryl, my daughter loves ya... She wants to start weight training for AAU...is 14 too young--I don't want her to get hurt or too bulky
Sheryl Swoopes: Absoultely not. 14 is a great age. there are probably certain limits - she should not be killing herself in the weightroom, but it is a great way for her to get in shape and develop certain muscles. It will help her in the long run. As for me, I never got into that much - I did it to maintain what I already had. That is why I prolonged my career and doing enough. I think you should encourage her to to it in moderation. And thank you and hello to your daughter.
David (Farmington): Ms. Swoopes you are a classic role model for children everywhere. Your abilities, dedication and courage are undeniable. Do you see yourself being a part of the world championship and Olympic teams? When you do retire, would you like to stay in basketball?
Sheryl Swoopes: When I retire, I definitely want to stay involved in some capacity. I have no idea what that is - broadcasting, coaching... as far as the Worlds and Olympics... I don't know. I thought about it a lot. After Greece, I said I was done, but I still feel mentally and physically good. I think I have what it takes to lead some of the players on the team. So I will say it is a possibility and leave it at that.
Sharika (West Lafyette, Indiana: Who were some of you favorite basketball players when you were young and why?
Sheryl Swoopes: Unfortunately, I wish I could have had a female sports role model. I never got to watch many women. So I turned to the NBA. My role model growing up was Michael Jordan - for his talents on the court, how he handled himself and determined whether his team won or lost. That's pressure. But I really admire how he handled himself off the court- with media, sponsors and always got his message across. I've always looked up to him and said I want to handle myself like him. Today with the WNBA, every other player, we are honored that little girls look up to me and have aspirations to be just like us.
Paige (H-Town): Hey Sheryl! You've been all over the world. Who has the best Mexican food outside of TX? ;) Paige
Sheryl Swoopes: (Laughs)... Texas definitely has the best. Definitely number one for Mexican. It doesn't exist in Italy, Russia, China... Spain was not good. I've had good Mexican food on a cruise in Puerto Vallarta. It was great, but it wasn't Texas-style.
Patrick: Hey Sheryl! I am glad you made it back to the city safe and sound. I am a huge fan of yours and I have been watching you play since your college days. When you are not on the court;how do you enjoy regular life day to day? Good luck this season I will be at every game supporting you and the team like always-
Sheryl Swoopes: When I'm not doing basketball, I like to consider myself like anyone else. I have lots of chores - paying bills, running errands, cleaning. I just like to relax and hang out with Jordan and do mom things with him. Right now, I'm figuring out what I want to do when I'm done over the next few years. In the meantime I'll just relax and hang out with my friends.
Sarah (Atlanta): With the draft approaching who do you think will have a big impact on the league in its tenth year, Also do you think the WNBA will expand to the A-Town anytime soon because I'd love to see you guys play here.
Sheryl Swoopes: I think Siemone Augustus and Cappie Pondexter will go 1-2 - not that I know because I've been away. But they are phenomenal players and will definitely change the style of the WNBA. They are the real deal. I think it's a big adjustment coming into this league, but those two, from watching them a little bit, I definitely think the two of them are the real deal.
Jevita (Memphis,TN): Which musical artist do you like the most? I like Fantasia personally.
Sheryl Swoopes: Gosh, for Christmas, I got the new IPod where I can download videos - exciting. I listen to all - R&B, gospel, country, easy listening - just not rap. Some of my favorites - Beyonce - she is number one. One of my new favorites is by Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Kanye West and Joe - forever has been one of my favorite artists.
DUH2P: What job would you have if you were not WNBA players?
Sheryl Swoopes: I would probably be playing professionally overseas - or coaching somewhere.
Sheryl Swoopes: I want to say thank you for everyone who had a question or comment. Sorry I could not get to all of them, but thank you to everyone who is interested in who I am and what I have to say... your support has been amazing. Thank you to the Sheryl Swoopes and WNBA fans out there!
Moderator: Thanks, Sheryl. Looking forward to seeing you all weekend and this upcoming season.
Moderator: Up next, Tina Thompson will be coming by to chat with fans so send in those questions now.
Moderator: And she's here...
Linda (Houston, TX): Hi Tina, How is your son doing? Was wondering if Sheryl gave you any advice on motherhood at all since she did get a bit of a headstart?
Tina Thompson: Dylan is actually doing great. We didn't talk about it together - I did see Jordan grow up, but I have lots of nieces and nephews and my mom is around, and she is quite experienced and gives me some great advice.
Tina Thompson: Actually, I started playing basketball by accident. My brother was a player and he and his friends went to the local rec center and I became very curious what they were doing there, so I started going. I made my mom make me take to the gym with them. My brother's friends gave me a hard time about girls playing, but I made it my challenge and loved playing it and it took off from that moment and have been doing it ever since.
Lauren, Seattle: Hi Tina. I got the chance to meet you in Seattle towards the end of the regular season and you had your baby boy. HE IS SOOOO ADORABLE! How has life been as a mommy? :)Good luck in 06!!
Tina Thompson: Life is great. Dylan is such a blessing and has changed my life in a positive way. The only thing I have not gotten used to is the lack of sleep. Never would I imagine that I could function with half as much sleep as I used to get. He's been sleeping thru the night for awhile and eats to his own satisfaction. Dylan sleeps and eats until he has had enough.
Drew, Carmel In.: Tina, you bounced back from pregnacy (congratulations!) and Sheryl, you came back from what others felt you should have retired. After all the struggles and hardships, how do you find motivation going into the 06 season? Any predictions?
Tina Thompson: Actually, my pregnancy went so well. I thought I would gain so much weight and would be huge, but Dylan has been great to me. Getting into shape was not a matter of losing weight, but getting my strength back.,, The motivation has never left, so going into this season won't be any different and I give my all to the game. As for predictions, I don't do too well with that, but I do know we will do well.
Kingman, Arizona: Hey Sheryl and Tina, how does it feel being the veterans of the WNBA? I also want to know what advice do you have with these new players coming in from playing in College. Good luck this year hope to see you in the playoffs. Go Houston
Tee-Washington, DC: Do you think the rule changes will hurt or help the way the Comets play?
Tina Thompson: I actually totally agree with the rules changes. It makes a statement as a pro league and separates us from the pro ranks. Professional basketball is a change. I would love to also see illegal defense and a charge line like the WNBA, but I think the current changes. Those who are committed to making the adjustments will thrive in the new system.
Tina Thompson: Thanks to everybody for tuning in and being a part of the chat. My apologies to thsoe we couldn't get to. The fans are so great that it's almost impossible to get to everyone, but we love you all and thanks so much for your support.