Dishin & Swishin 10/15/15 Podcast with Sheryl Swoopes: Talking Ramblers, WNBA finals, and the espnW interview aftermath
If there is one women’s basketball player who has lived her life under the watchful eye of the general public, it is Sheryl Swoopes. The first player signed by the WNBA when it formed, Swoopes’ on and off court exploits have been fodder for those that love and hate women’s basketball.
Four championships with the Comets, three WNBA Most Valuable Player awards, six All-Star games, the rare combination of offensive prowess (two scoring titles) and defensive skill (three defensive player of the year awards), Swoopes was at the forefront of the WNBA initiative. Beautiful, charming, and eloquent, she was the spokesperson the league wanted.
Fast forward, and things got a little murkier. Her personal life became more public, and even before social media turned everyone into walking video cameras with instant gratification, Swoopes was a magnet for judgmental people. She was married to a man, had a lengthy relationship with a woman and is currently with another man. People on both sides of the fence judged her, praised and criticized her. Suddenly she was no longer Sheryl Swoopes, one of the greatest basketball players to ever live, and while she has not shied from the praise or the criticism, she admits she simply wants to be Sheryl Swoopes. Period.
Which brings us to 2015, and coach Swoopes, the head coach at Loyola University Chicago, is in her third season with the Ramblers. It is a program that struggled the last couple of years, and enters this year with seven new players on their roster. Still, Swoopes arranged a brutal non-conference schedule in hopes of getting this young team ready for Missouri Valley Conference play with Georgia Tech, Miami (Florida), Michigan State, and Green Bay all on the docket.
Swoopes is looking forward to a Texas return in a game against Rice. The Ramblers return a First Team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection in Taylor Manuel (15.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg in 2014-15), last year’s conference Newcomer of the Year. They will need a big year from Taylor Johnson, who has battled injuries each of the last two seasons. Swoopes hopes it will ready them for conference play.
On this week’s Dishin & Swishin Swoopes discusses the transition from player to coach, and how she is learning and growing in her current role.
This leads to a discussion on coaches and players watching the WNBA, and Swoopes’ discusses her belief in why it is crucial that everyone watch the pros. Swoopes gives her impressions of the league, the finals, Tamika Catchings and Maya Moore, giving back and more.
Swoopes made news recently when she answered some questions for espnW after appearing at Nike Women’s Elite Basketball collection’s opening. As she normally does, Swoopes gave open answers to several questions, including players and teams from “back in the day” as she says, compared to today’s players, and her thoughts on the game and players. She thought it was innocent enough, but when the interview appeared on the website, it took on a life of its own.
Some of her answers were, in her opinion, taken out of context. She also felt that while the words may not have been twisted around, they lost some of the tone and manner in which they were said. Still, Swoopes was not going to respond, until a second piece appeared on espnW’s site, that gave a harsh response to her, including saying her ideas and her opinions were “wrong” and “half-baked.”
We thank Swoopes for the respect she gives to Dishin & Swishin for choosing our podcast as the place to respond to this piece, and attempt to expound on her original answers and explain what she truly meant in her responses. It is our pleasure to give her this forum. She addresses each of the claims made against her; the idea she promotes appearance in players, the comments about keeping your personal business private, and the thought her team was more passionate and played better than today’s players.
Enjoy the podcast!