As one of the most celebrated players in women’s basketball history, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke has garnered nearly every accolade in the sport. From college championship and the Olympics to leading the Houston Comet’s to three WNBA championships and induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame, Cooper-Dyke continues her legacy in women’s basketball – most recently as the head coach of her alma mater, the USC Trojans. Despite her legacy and continued success, Cooper-Dyke still remembers the struggles of her past.
“To even be recognized as one of the best. That was special because it made me remember all of the times the boys wouldn’t let me play. They wouldn’t let me in the game, and I had to sit on the sidelines,” said Cooper-Dyke who grew up in the inner city of South Central Los Angeles.
As her career history shows, she didn’t stay on the sidelines long – and she doesn’t intend to slow down anytime soon. Her longevity is a product of her sense of invincibility that she says she learned from her mother, Mary Cobbs.
“My mom is my biggest mentor. I just saw her persevere through so much and she just kept going and raised eight kids by herself. She fought cancer and she was probably the first person that taught me no matter what it is you want to do, you can go after it, you can do it,” said Cooper-Dyke.
And she has passed that lesson onto to others who dream as big as Cooper-Dyke.
“When you get knocked down, get up. It doesn’t matter how slow you get up, it just matters that you get up and that you push forward. You can achieve your goals and once you achieve your goals you can set new goals. It’s ok! It’s ok to be great, it’s ok to fight for something that you believe in, that you want, that you’re passionate about. I say it’s ok to fight and that you can do it because I did it and no one expected me to do it. But I did it and I always believed that I could,” said Cooper-Dyke.