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Q&A With Sheryl Swoopes: AT&T 5G Game View, Future Of WNBA, Dawn Staley's Impact

Sheryl Swoopes takes a picture with Diana Taurasi.

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 12: American former professional basketball player, Sheryl Swoopes, poses for a photo with Diana Taurasi #3 of the Phoenix Mercury before the game against the Dallas Wings on August 12, 2022 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Kate Frese/NBAE via Getty Images)

The legendary Sheryl Swoopes keeps finding new ways to elevate the WNBA.

Swoopes, the first-ever player to be signed to the WNBA, had an incredible career on the hardwood. She won four WNBA championships, was a six-time All-Star and led the league in scoring twice.

Now, Swoopes is spreading the word about the WNBA and AT&T’s new app, AT&T 5G Game View.

AT&T 5G Game View uses augmented reality so fans can “see game and player stats during live games, watch customizable clips and access real-time 3D stats.” This app could potentially revolutionize the way fans interact with the WNBA.

We caught up with Sheryl Swoopes to discuss her work with AT&T, the future of the WNBA and much more.

Sheryl Swoopes at a presentation for the WNBA and AT&T.

The Spun: Can you tell me about the WNBA and AT&T’s work on the AT&T 5G Game View app?

Sheryl Swoopes: First of all, I think to have an opportunity to talk about the relationship between AT&T and the WNBA is something I’m excited about. I have to say, I hate that we didn’t have this relationship when I was playing. The fact that AT&T sees something in the WNBA and the players is great. I think this is a great way to connect fans with the players. Having an interactive app where fans can feel connected to what the players are doing is big for us. To my knowledge, I think this is the first app of this kind for women’s sports. This alone should continue to grow the game because fans all over the world will be able to interact with the players and see live stats, who’s the leading scorer. It could also be a positive for people who like to bet.

The Spun: How important it is to work with a brand that is dedicated to investing in Women’s sports?

SS: I will say this: AT&T is a very reputable company. They’re known worldwide, and when you look at women’s sports and the businesses investing in them, you need to look at the company and ask why they’re doing this. When you see AT&T say they want to get behind the WNBA, I think it says a lot about what the league’s doing and what the company/business is all about. It’s important to connect yourself and build relationships with another reputable company that’s just as passionate about wanting to see women grow as current and former players are.

A screenshot of the AT&T 5G Game View app.

The AT&T 5G Game View app.

The Spun: Women's sports is on the rise, but there's still more work that needs to be done. With that said, what do you think needs to happen?

SS: I’m never going to say it’s enough. I agree with you, there’s so much work that we have to do. I think from when I started playing in the league to now, I’ve seen how the WNBA has grown. When you look at women’s sports overall, we still have so much more work to do. It’ll take businesses and companies like an AT&T to open eyes of other businesses to realize that it’s time to invest in us. A lot of people might be afraid to jump in, but I can sit here and give a thousand reasons why they should [invest in women’s sports]. There are so many reasons outside of sports as to why companies should invest in women.

The Spun: You were the first player to ever sign with the WNBA. Looking at the league now, what’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed?

SS: This might sound crazy, but I won’t say it’s the fact that players are making more money. Seeing the social media impact the WNBA has stands out to me. The support you see for these women day in and day out continues to grow. Then, you’ll see male athletes from other sports supporting them. An NBA player wearing a WNBA jersey legitimately helps. If you see a LeBron James or a late Kobe Bryant rocking a WNBA player’s jersey, everyone pays attention. I think social media, by far, has been one of the biggest changes I’ve seen in the league. You can also get specific and talk about the maternity leave and how that came about. I’m just glad these women know their worth and know what they should be fighting for.

Sheryl Swoopes presenting for AT&T 5G Game View.

The Spun: You’ve done a great job of being a pioneer for the WNBA. Who are some current players who are taking the game to the next level?

SS: It’s hard for me to say one. I’ve always been a big A’ja Wilson fan. I think Chelsea Gray has opened so many people’s eyes. I tweeted that she’s a problem for anybody. Kelsey Plum is having a great year, Sabrina Ionescu looks great. People expected a lot of her coming out of Oregon - it takes time to adjust. There are so many players out there taking the league to the next level. But the ones I mentioned are ones that fans will definitely want to watch.

The Spun: You’ve been very supportive of Dawn Staley. She recently decided to call off her team’s matchup against BYU. What kind of message do you think she sends for the rest of the sport?

SS: What I love about Dawn is who she is. You’re always going to get the same person, on or off the court. She’s always about putting everyone else first. You brought up the incident with BYU, and there’s a lot of stuff about what did or didn’t happen. What I know is the fact that it was out there in the media and you know that Dawn’s team is predominantly Black. It’s tough to bring your team into that type of environment based off what allegedly happened. Dawn doesn’t get caught up in doing the popular thing, she does the right thing. When you talk about the things she’s able to do off the court, she’s one of those people that God puts on this earth and expects to make a difference. She can’t do that all by herself, but she’s a great start. She really embraces all of this. We need more people like her, and if that happens, this world will be a better place.

The Spun: You’ve accomplished so much in your career. What would you say is your greatest achievement.

SS: This one is easy for me. I’m always going to say being able to give birth to my son and still be able to come back and compete at a high level. In saying that, my greatest accomplishment is being able to raise my son around so many strong, powerful, beautiful women. I think, because of that, my son has a completely different appreciation and respect for women as a whole. He was able to witness and see his mom put in work and not make any sacrifices from my career. That’s one of the proudest accomplishments for me.

The Spun: What will the next phase/chapter of your life consist of?

SS: I’m all about giving back and promoting the game. I want to leave things better than I found them. For me to have an opportunity to build a relationship with AT&T and be a part of this project is great. I love being a part of things that are new, different and challenging. I know I enjoy trying to motivate and inspire the next generation of kids, and that’s exactly what AT&T is doing with its relationship with the WNBA. 


You can read more of our interviews with athletes and media stars here