Olympic Gold Medalist, Two-Time WNBA MVP; Former Head Coach of Texas Southern Women's Basketball Team
Universally considered one of the best women's basketball players of all time, Cynthia Cooper helped lead the Houston Comets to four consecutive national championships. She won two NCAA basketball titles in college and went on to win an Olympic gold medal in 1988 and a bronze medal in 1992. Cooper is the WNBA's all-time leading scorer, and the Houston Comet's all-time leader in points scored, scoring average, free throw percentage, assists and minutes played. She is also the recipient of two regular season MVP awards, four finals MVP awards and two ESPY Awards.
Motivating audiences with her inspiring story and winning attitude, Cooper describes her childhood in inner-city Los Angeles, through her years as a college player at USC on a basketball scholarship, and as a professional player in Europe for a decade before her recruitment to the Comets. She also discusses her battles off the court, including her family's struggles to survive the temptations of South Central L.A. and her mother's bout with breast cancer.
Cooper had the odds stacked against her while growing up in impoverished Watts, California. She was the middle child of eight siblings, and was abused by both her father and an older brother. But she had a great role model in her mother, who taught her to strive to be the best she could be, no matter what the odds. She has done that and more.
In addition to her basketball talents, Cooper is an accomplished author. She chronicled her remarkable story in "She Got Game: My Personal Odyssey," and has published a book project with elementary school children titled "Modern Day Fairy Tales." She is a proponent of Title IX, the federal law enabling gender equality in university sports, and co-chairs a federal commission put forth by President George W. Bush devoted to preserving and improving the law.
An active literacy advocate and mother of twins, Cooper travels the country to promote children's education issues. She started an inner city after-school program to provide tutoring, computer training and other alternatives to drugs and gangs. After her mother's bout with breast cancer, Cooper devotes much of her time and money raising awareness of the disease as a spokesperson for Concept Cure.
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