March has arrived and Sunday marks the beginning of Women’s History Month.
To kick things off, the WNBA paid homage to three pioneering players: Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, and Rebecca Lobo, the first players to sign with the organization during its 1997 inaugural season.
Swoopes signed with the Houston Comets in 1997 and became the first player in the WNBA to record a triple-double during the regular season and playoffs. The three-time Olympic gold medal-winner also became the first women’s basketball player to have a Nike shoe named after her, “Air Swoopes.”
Leslie signed with the Los Angeles Sparks during the WNBA’s inaugural season. In 2001, she was honored with Sportswoman of the Year. In 2002, she made history as the first WNBA player to score over 3,000 total career points and the first woman to dunk during a WNBA game. Both Leslie and Swoopes are listed as the Women’s National Basketball Association’s Top 20 Players of All Time. Leslie has won four Olympic gold medals.
Lobo signed with the New York Liberty in 1997 and was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. Lobo, Leslie, and Swoopes were all members of the Gold Medal-winning USA Basketball Women’s National Team at the 1996 Olympics.