Monday, March 3, 2008

Swoopes Odds and Ends

Observation No. 1 from this afternoon's press conference introducing Sheryl Swoopes to the Seattle media: I walked away feeling like I had enough material for at least two or three features, though alas time for only one. Surely we'll get to the rest over the next few months, but for now the odds and ends go to the blog.

Observation No. 2: Not sure if anyone else remembers "The Chris Farley Show" from Saturday Night Live, where the late Farley stumbled his way through fawning interviews, but I felt a little like that before interviewing Swoopes and Brian Agler in the latter's office just before the press conference began.

Me: Hey Sheryl, remember that time you had the first triple-double in WNBA history?
Swoopes: Yeah, I do.
Me: That was awesome!

I mean, come on, it's Sheryl Swoopes. Not that we've lacked for elite talent with the Storm; far from it, even this off-season with the addition of Swin Cash. Still, you look at what Swoopes has accomplished in her career and it's simply remarkable.

On a more serious note, here's some quick video of the press conference shot by my boss:

And here's Swoopes showing off her new jersey:

To the notes:

- It's incredibly rare to have two multiple-time MVPs as teammates. Swoopes actually has been involved in the other such pairing in WNBA history, playing with Cynthia Cooper in Houston. To get a sense of the historic natue of the pairing of Swoopes and Lauren Jackson, I looked at other sports.

I found only one set of multiple-MVP NBA teammates, Lakers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson. Same with the NFL, which is less surprising because quarterbacks so frequently win MVP. So Joe Montana and Steve Young were teammates in San Francisco, but obviously they never played together.

With one MVP in each league and more multiple-MVP winners, baseball has the most sets of teammates. I found five, but I can't be certain my list is exhaustive. Joe DiMaggio was part of a pair of sets, overlapping at the start of his career with Lou Gehrig and at the end of it with Mickey Mantle. Mantle played in the same outfield with Roger Maris. Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan played together for the Big Red Machine and Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams were teammates for the Red Sox.

- Storm COO Karen Bryant and Agler are headed to Russia next week to see Jackson and Sue Bird and take in the Euroleague All-Star Game. The trip will give the Storm a chance to negotiate with Bird, one of the team's two core players (Janell Burse is the other). That guarantees Bird a one-year contract at the max salary, but there is the potential for the two sides to come to agreement on a long-term deal.

- Swoopes said she is still in the process of making a decision on whether or not to play for the U.S. Senior Women's National Team in this summer's Beijing Olympics.

"My number one focus is to come back to the WNBA and be the best player that I know I can be," she said. "If the National Team thing happens, then I'll do that, but that's not my focus."

- Can't remember where I had read it, but Agler confirmed that the new WNBA CBA has loosened the restrictions around training-camp contracts. You'll remember last year that the Storm carried few players in camp in large part because of the fear that a camp invitee would be injured and count against the team's salary cap, a problem with the WNBA's hard cap. The new system allows more flexibility, so look for larger camp rosters.

1 comment:

herky said...

what one word do you think of when mentioning the names of agler, bird, cash, jackson, and swoopes?


blessed with an injury free season, i smell a wnba championship for 2008!