She was an original in every way. She helped pave the way and in the end she had seen and done it all.
WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes has an army of accolades that most can only dream of attaining. Beginning with her college days at Texas Tech in which she was a First Team All-American (1992 and 1993) in addition to being a national champion and Naismith College Player of the Year. Then she was part of the historic 1996 U.S. Women’s Olympic Basketball team that changed the course of history for women’s sports after dominating its way to a gold medal, her first of three.
Her ultimate breakthrough came in 1997 as one of the first three original players in the WNBA along with Lisa Leslie and Rebecca Lobo. She signed with the Houston Comets and was a catalyst for their dynasty run that included four consecutive WNBA championships from 1997 to 2000. She was the league MVP in 2000, 2002, and 2005. Also, let’s not forget that she was the first woman athlete to have her own shoe when Nike introduced us to the Air Swoopes, pinning her as the female Michael Jordan.
The trail that was blazed by Sheryl Swoopes is undoubtable, but it wasn’t easy for her. She grew up in Brownfield, Texas, a small town with little to no money being raised by her mother. Basketball became her saving grace through some trying times and she was determined to use that as her ticket toward upward mobility for her and her family.
Even as she would go on to achieve remarkable success, she would later find herself in financial shambles once her career was over in 2005. Lawyers and agents squandered her money and bad investments depleted her wealth. As a result, in 2004, she filed for bankruptcy even though she had earned over $50 million.
In the amazing 2013 ESPN documentary “Swoopes,” she revealed that she had to sell her awards and accolades just to pay the bills. She wasn’t the first or last high profile athlete to encounter financial hardships but she is up front and honest about her struggles and wanting others to learn from her experiences.
That is what is she is doing now as she is now featured in a new episode of Uninterrupted’s YouTube show “Kneading Dough” that shares the stories of athletes and how they manage their money.
In the episode, Swoopes speaks about how she wasn’t given a lesson on financial planning and how she had to learn over time the importance of financial literacy and responsibility. She is also featured with her close friend Chanté Crutchfield, who is currently the assistant director of operations for LSU Women’s Basketball and a former Comets intern.
They both speak about the basics when it comes to financial responsibility, such as budgeting, not overspending and not creating unnecessary bills. Sheryl also speaks on having multiple sources of income to make it, which is something that WNBA players can relate too given their circumstances surrounding pay and salary.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, Swoopes and Crutchfield share that it is OK to be vulnerable and to ask for help, which can lead to progress and peace within one’s self. They hope their example is to be a catalyst, particularly when it comes to reaching out to Black and Brown communities on financial independence and responsibility.
You can view the entire episode below:
As said before, Sheryl Swoopes has done it all and seen it all and because of that she is the embodiment of resilience, perseverance and optimism. She is true to herself and true to others, which makes her a legend in more ways than one.
Air Swoopes still soars through the clouds.