Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes Dissects Differences Playing with Sue Bird, Cynthia Cooper

Getty Sue Bird on Team USA

Former Houston Comets point guard Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird are two of the best floor generals that the WNBA has ever seen.

During her six seasons in the WNBA, Cooper racked up three All-Star selections, two league MVPs, four straight WNBA Championships from 1996-2000, and four consecutive Final MVPs. She averaged 21.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game in 124 games with the Houston Comet, and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. Coop was the first-ever former WNBA player to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Throughout her 16-year career in the WNBA, Sue Bird has averaged 12.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game in 508 games for the Seattle Storm. She is an 11-time All-Star, won three WNBA championships (2004-2010-2018), the All-Time leader in assists, and the all-time leader in minute played.

When she broke the assists record in Washington, DC, on Sep 2, 2017, Bird said it was special, and it spoke to her consistent level of play.

“Obviously things like this are special,” Bird told the Spokesman-Review. “They speak to a consistent level of play. It’s not about having one good game or season, but having success throughout a career.”

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Sheryl Swoopes Shares the Difference Between Playing with Sue Bird and Cynthia Cooper-Dyke

During the first six years of her career, Sheryl Swoopes played with Cooper-Dyke in Houston and were able to win four WNBA championships in six seasons. Swoopes and Dyke, along with Tina Thompson, dominated the WNBA in the late 90s and the early 2000s. Swoopes also played a season with Sue Bird in Seattle in 2008, and the Storm finished second in the Western Conference with a 22-12 record. They would lose in the Western Conference Semi-Finals to the Los Angeles Sparks.

I recently spoke to Sheryl Swoopes about what was the difference between playing with Bird and Cooper.

“First of all, they are both totally different players when I think about Sue, I played with a year in the Olympics and a year in Seattle. Sue is a true point guard; she sees the floor very well; she understands the game and knows how to be a leader,” said Swoopes. “She also knows how to set her teammates up, and that was Sue Bird’s ability from a point guard’s standpoint was to just lead her team.”

And the understanding she always had of the game. I have always respected her for that, and when I look at Coop, Coop is just a flat out scorer she could just score. She handles the ball a lot, she created a lot for her teammates like myself, Tina Tina, Janeth Arcain, and everybody. When I think about her game, she was just a scorer. Some people can shoot, and some people can score. There is a difference she was a scorer, which meant she fill it up in many different ways and was unstoppable.

As her teammate, there were moments when she do something I would sit there or when I was on the court where it was male or female, players weren’t supposed to do some of the things she was doing. I absolutely enjoyed my time playing with Cynthia Cooper.​

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