SI: The Comets ofthe late 1990s won the first four WNBA championships but are rarely mentionedamong the great sports dynasties. Where should you be ranked?
Swoopes: I don'tthink we get enough credit. I would say we deserve to be ranked in the top fivewhen you think about dynasties in any sport.
SI: Who is thetoughest player to guard in the league?
Swoopes: [IndianaFever forward] Tamika Catchings, by far. She brings it every night, and ifshe's not scoring, she won't slack off defensively.
SI: It's beeneight months since you revealed that you are gay. Has the public's reactionbeen what you expected?
Swoopes: Thesupport I have gotten has been phenomenal. Before the announcement, when theyintroduced me, I would get claps from fans at away games. This year I've beenon five road trips, and I have gotten standing ovations--and not just from gaywomen or gay men. It's been very emotional.
SI: Whose supportsurprised you most?
Swoopes: I was sonervous about going to the NBA All-Star Game in Houston this year because Iknow so many of those guys in the league. One of the things that has been mostspecial to me was that Shaquille O'Neal and Kevin Garnett came up to me ondifferent occasions. They hugged me and said, "I love you, I'm proud of youand I have your back." To hear that from two of the biggest guys in the NBAdid so much for me and my confidence.
SI: Will we see ahigh-profile professional male athlete come out while still playing?
Swoopes: In mylifetime? No. I think high-profile male athletes feel like they have so muchmore to lose than to gain. People asked me if I was worried about losingendorsements and stuff. My answer was no. The one thing that I gained, which isbigger than any of that, is peace of mind and my happiness.
> For morefrom Sheryl Swoopes, go to SI.com/scorecard.
ANDREW D. BERNSTEIN/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (SWOOPES)
JESSICA KOURKOUNIS/AP (SWOOPES IN ACTION)