The Phoenix Lady Elite 1s Professional Development team received a massive boost of confidence ahead of them competing in the WBDA Pro National Championship Tournament in Dallas, Texas this weekend. WNBA Hall of Famer, Sheryl Swoopes surprised the players with a video message and encouraged them to continue fighting, despite not having the best season so far.
“You ladies have one of the best examples of being older, but still getting it done. Although you ladies may be one of the older teams, you are extremely hardworking and dedicated, and to me, that’s all it takes to be able to win it all,”-Sheryl Swoopes.
Swoopes has had an extraordinary basketball career. She was the first woman signed to the WNBA, has won three Olympic gold medals, is a three-time WNBA MVP, and was named one of the league's Top 15 Players of All Time at the 2011 WNA All-Star Game.
She accomplished all of this before retiring in her forties.
“I believe I was 40 or 41 when I retired so one thing I learn was to never let anybody determine my success and when it was time for me to move on from the game. So don’t even let that come into play, go take care of business, do what you ladies have been doing all season cause clearly you’re doing something right."
Having played the game most of her life, she said she understood the sacrifices that the Lady Elite 1s were making, especially playing in a semi-pro league. And this just serves to increase her admiration for the ladies, and their fervor for the game.
“I understand making sacrifices and I also know being in a semi pro league, if there’s any money involved it's not a lot, so I understand the sacrifices you’ve made including your time and money to play. But I also know that when you’re passionate about something, and when you care about something money really doesn’t matter. So that definitely goes into play when you talk about what you ladies are doing,” she said.
If Swoopes was in Texas this weekend, then she’d definitely come and watch the Lady Elite 1s play, but she’ll be cheering them on from where she is.
“Best of luck to y'all this weekend, keep doing what you doing, keep believing in yourself individually, keep believing in yourself collectively as a team, and if y’all stay focus on what that goal is which is to ultimately win it all and take the championship back to Arizona, I do believe that you can make that happen,”-Sheryl Swoopes.
“Just go do what you do, represent well, be confident in who you are, and confident in your ability because if you weren’t good enough you wouldn’t be playing for the championships this weekend.”
Lady Elite 1's head coach Wayne Dawkins said Swoopes's message was very timely.
"The women are really excited about the video, they really appreciate her message, and she’s an idol for a lot of these women," he said. "It’s been a tough season, with COVID and being off for two years; we were the best in the league two years ago, and now we’re at the bottom and it’s been rough so it's been a battle getting the morale up, it's low, but we’re still trying to fight. ”