I've been accused of a lot of things, but being nervous and shy isn't one of them. But I sure felt that way when the SID from Prairie View A&M called me to tell me that head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke -- The Greatest of All Time, at least in my opinion -- was willing to give me an interview.
Anytime a guest opens your interview with "It's wonderful to be on your show, representing women's basketball, and I love your name, Dishin' and Swishin, that's what I'm talking about" you know you're going to have a blast talking to them. What happened was 30 minutes of basketball fan heaven.
I spoke to the newest member of the Naismith Hall of Fame, the first WNBA star to be so elected, on her beginnings, playing in Europe with no WNBA around, USA Basketball, the Comets championship teams, the current WNBA climate, and her current experiences coaching. She was open and honest, charming and witty.
Please allow me to share a little bit of it with you here.
Cynthia Cooper was not always the star she became. Her workouts of over 500 shots per session are legendary. She talked to me about the beginnings, discovering basketball, and her time as a role player at USC, taking a back seat to Cheryl Miller and the McGees.
A major difference between women and men pro basketball players is the drive to play for their country. The World Championships and the Olympic Games are still the ultimate team success to the women, while the men, with the individual monetary rewards they can reach in the NBA, don't place as much value on it. Cooper discussed that feeling of playing for the United States.
The Houston Comets, rest in peace, were the original WNBA dynasty. Coop, Swoopes, Thompson, Perrot, Arcain...the list goes on. An amazing collection of talent, and dominant in the early years. So which of the four championship teams was the best?
Now that the door has been kicked in to the Naismith Hall of Fame (and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame) by the WNBA, who's the next women's basketball star that should join Cooper in immortality? I'd love for you to send me your comments on the subject, and here is Coop's choice.
For our last clip, the legend answered my question about the WNBA, and today's players. I asked her, a woman who made most of her career playing overseas, on the importance of the current players returning each summer to play in the WNBA, despite the amount of money being paid in Europe.
NCAA champion...WNBA Champion....WNBA MVP....USA Gold Medalist....Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. I've made my case for Cynthia Cooper as the Greatest of All Time. There is no disrespect to Cheryl Miller, Ann Meyers-Drysdale, Anne Donovan, Carol Blazejowski, Nancy Lieberman, or anyone else that blazed the trails for the current crop of stars.
Agree? Disagree? Give me your thoughts on the subject, and don't forget to listen to Dishin & Swishin: The World of Women's Hoops, each and every Wednesday beginning from 1 pm ET on, on www.wstrradio.com.
Let the debate begin!
If you'd like to hear the entire interview with Cynthia Cooper, it can be found here: http://www.wstrradio.com/Dishn_Swish_Cynthia_Cooper.htm