Often called "the female Michael Jordan," professional basketball star forward Sheryl Denise Swoopes (1971-) scored a record-breaking 47 points in college play. Her advocacy for women's basketball in the U.S. has been instrumental in the sport's current popularity and success.
"At times, I get it in my mind that there is no way I can miss," she once said.
Born in Brownfield, Texas, the former Texas Tech all-American with the nickname"Texas Tornado," scored gold at the 1994 Goodwill and 1996 Olympics. When athletic giant Nike introduced the popular "Air Swoopes," the"S"-emblazoned footwear, she became the first woman athlete to have a shoe named for her.
"Knowing all across the country, little girls will be going into stores and not asking for the Air Jordan but for the Air Swoopes put a chill in my body," she admitted. "It lets you know somebody is paying attention to women's basketball."
The year 1997 was big for Swoopes. Signed by WNBA's Houston Comets, she gave birth to her son, Jordan, named after her hero Michael, of course, who she once played one-on-one with. In 2000, she was the league's MVP and top defensive player.
Knee surgery in May 2001 may have sidelined the star, but did not stop her from bouncing back. In 2003, Swoopes averaged 15.6 points per game, leading the Comets to a 20-14 record and second-place finish.
About her on-going passion for the game, she said, "You know something? I still get chills today. I am emotional. That is the type of person I am."
No matter what, you can always bounce back.