Sheryl Swoopes Signs with Tulsa Shock

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:18 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Mar 28, 2011 10:52 AM CDT

Layna Dewell
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

TULSA, Oklahoma—Three-time WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes is returning to the league after signing with the Tulsa Shock on Monday.

After working out privately for the Shock coaching staff in early March, the 40-year-old made her comeback official Monday morning.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about me coming back, it’s about winning - it’s what I’ve done my entire career,” Swoopes said. “I’m excited and thrilled for the opportunity to come back and be a part of the WNBA again with the Shock.”

The six-foot forward was the first-ever player signed by the NBA when the league formed in 1996. She played for the Houston Comets for 10 years beginning in 1997 before she went to the Seattle Storm in 2008. After a year with the Storm, she spent two years playing overseas.

“40 is the new 20,” said Swoops during her first teleconference as a member of the Shock. “Physically I feel really good.”

Not only does she average 15.8 points in her career, but she also is a four-time WNBA champion, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and three-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year.

“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.”

Swoopes’ signing makes her the third big name the Shock has signed to the roster in the last two months.

Tulsa signed former Oklahoma State guard Andrea Riley on the first day of February, then just a couple weeks later re-signed former Olympic sprinter Marion Jones.

Swoopes says she expects challenges in Coach Richardson’s system, but that if there were an ounce of doubt in her mind that she couldn’t play at this level, she wouldn’t have come back.

The summer before she signed with Seattle, Swoops underwent surgery on her back. After a year of recovery time and now three years later, she may be 40, but she says she feels good.

“I can honestly say, physically my body feels better than it did in the last two to three years I played in the WNBA,” said Swoops. “I feel really good.”

As far as expectations go, Swoops seems prepared to serve in any capacity on or off the court saying whether its on the court or in the locker room, she is ready to use her experience to lead this young team next season.

“Her attitude towards the game and her ability to see the floor, those are thing that you can’t really teach,” Richardson said. “The thing I noticed was how hard she was competing in the drills. She really competed hard and I liked that.”

“With all of my experience and knowledge and everything that I’ve done over the years, hopefully I’ll be able to bring that to Tulsa and help the team win,” said Swoopes.

Last season the Shock finished 6-28 and they hold the second and seventh picks in the WNBA draft that will take place on April 11.

Tulsa begins the season June 4 at 6 p.m. against the San Antonio Silver Stars.