Best Comet (2002)

Sheryl Swoopes

Last season, Houston Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes heard the three most dreaded letters known to an athlete: ACL. Those three letters stand for a sports injury that often means the end of a career. But while Swoopes missed all last season with a torn ligament in her knee, she returned this year to take her team to the playoffs. So impressive was Swoopes's comeback that she was named the WNBA's most valuable player (her second such title in three years), beating Los Angeles media darling Lisa Leslie, the first woman ever to dunk in the WNBA. Swoopes gained stardom as part of the dynamic duo that included Cynthia Cooper, who brought Houston the first four WNBA championships. Yet Swoopes has proved easier to embrace than the retired Cooper, who wears a scowl even when smiling. Swoopes displays a casual star attitude. She left to have a baby and came back to win a title. Even her name sounds fast. Also voted the WNBA's best defensive player, Swoopes drew throngs of fans to watch her swoop, steal passes and glide down the court like a gazelle, ending with her signature spin move and a kiss off the glass for two. For that, she's hearing three new letters: MVP.


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