At the Women’s NCAA Regional Finals Sunday night, a tweeted rumor brought rival fans together for a few minutes.
This morning, the rumor proved correct. Sheryl Swoopes signed with the Tulsa Shock, ending a two-year hiatus from the WNBA.
Swoopes, who turned 40 on Friday, has been working out for the Shock coaching staff since early this month, according to the ever popular “inside sources.” Now that the news is official, the staff couldn’t be more pleased.
“We are very happy to have this opportunity to work with Sheryl Swoopes,” General Manager and Head Coach Nolan Richardson said. “We believe that she’s bringing her knowledge of the game and competitiveness to our team and I’m really looking forward to working with her.”
Of course, we’re pretty happy about the news, too. Swoopes made big news when she came out as a lesbian — the second active WNBA player to come out (Michele Van Gorp was first) and certainly one of the most famous women athletes in the world.
Her coming out paved the way for other lesbians in sports to be more open. Just last year, for example, Loree Moore, former Lady Vols and New York Liberty player who just signed with the LA Sparks, married her girlfriend Jessica with little fanfare.
Swoopes was first to sign when the WNBA started and was named MVP three times, Defensive Player of the year three times and won four championships during her career. Yet, instead of getting the kind of sendoff her career deserved, she was dropped unceremoniously from the Seattle Storm in 2009.
Now she’s anxious to get back on the court for the WNBA — and thinks Tulsa is the perfect place. The former Detroit Shock struggled last year, but just re-signed Marion Jones and holds the #2 and #7 WNBA Draft picks. Richardson and Swoopes believe that her experience and veteran leadership will be invaluable in growing the squad.
Tulsa’s first game is Saturday, June 4 against the San Antonio Silver Stars. I can’t wait to hear fans yell, “Swoopes, there it is!” again.
Are you excited for Sheryl’s return to the pro game?