Cynthia Cooper, (born April 14th, 1963 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.), American basketball player who was the first Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). The WNBA’s first year (1997), Cooper led the league in scoring and playing her team called the Houston Comets, to the title. Cooper was awarded MVP for the regular season as well as the playoffs in that season.
Cynthia Cooper was born within The Watts area in Los Angeles. She started playing basketball at the age of 16, and was soon hooked on the game. She received a scholarship at the University of Southern California and was a player alongside Cheryl Miller while aiding the team to the national title in 1984 and 1983. After graduation, Cooper was a professional soccer player in Europe mostly for a team based in Parma, Italy, where she grew into a formidable scorer as well as a determined defensive player. Cooper was a part in the team of 1988 U.S. national team that took home the gold medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
At the conclusion of the inaugural season for the WNBA, Cooper had established herself as the league’s most renowned player. Alongside her the star players Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson, Cooper led the Comets to championships at the end of 1998 and 1999 and 2000, all the while being named the best player in the championships. Cooper was named the League MVP three times in the year the year 1998. Cooper retired in 2000 and was appointed manager of the Women’s Basketball Association’s Phoenix Mercury the following year. In 2001, she got married to Brian Dyke, and she was blessed with twins the next year. She returned to basketball in 2003, and then stopped playing in 2004. She had WNBA career averages in the range of 21 points 4.9 assists 3.3 rebound along with 1.56 steals.
Cooper-Dyke was the head women’s basketball coaching in Prairie View (Texas) A&M University from 2005 until 2010. Then she was a coach for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (2010-12), Texas Southern University (2012-13 and 2019- ) as well as the University of Southern California (2013-17). She was chosen to be considered for the induction in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in the year 2010.