Nine for IX: 'Swoopes'

Film summary
Sheryl Swoopes famously has been labeled as the female Michael Jordan, but that's only part of the story.

On the court, she was nearly as dominant as Jordan, winning a national championship with Texas Tech, three Olympic gold medals, three MVP awards and four consecutive championships with the Houston Comets of the WNBA, the league she helped start. She even had a Nike shoe named after her, the Air Swoopes. Off the court, she has had a life full of transitions. She gave birth to her son, Jordan, during the inaugural season of the WNBA. Later, she divorced her high school sweetheart and became the highest-profile athlete in her sport to acknowledge she was gay.

She has struggled with love, money and personal identity, but has never lost her spirit. In this portrait, you will meet someone who is not your everyday superstar, but a woman who has defied a multitude of labels.

Director's bio: Hannah Storm
Storm is an award-winning producer, director and journalist, and is a pioneer in the field of sports broadcasting for women.

Following a passion to direct and produce films, in 2008 Storm created Brainstormin' Productions Inc. Since its launch, Storm has had the privilege of directing, producing and executive producing several films and digital series for television and the Web.

Her projects include:

-- "Unmatched," a documentary chronicling the famous rivalry between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for ESPN's Peabody Award-winning 30 for 30 film series

-- Her directorial debut of "Moving the Goal," the story of Kelly Smith, England's premier women's soccer star, and her previously untold details of her battle with alcoholism for espnW's HERoics, part of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup coverage

-- "Journeys & Victories," an original digital series for espnW, sponsored by Proctor & Gamble, designed to motivate women through stories of compelling personal journeys

-- A series of first-person video spots featuring inspiring females for Oakley's "Beyond Reason" campaign

Recognized as a groundbreaking female sports broadcaster, Storm currently hosts the weekday edition of ESPN's flagship program, "SportsCenter." Prior to ESPN, Storm had a front-row seat to the most celebrated sporting events in the world during her time at NBC Sports (1992-2002) and CNN (1989-1992), where she was the first female host of CNN's "Sports Tonight." Storm is a graduate of Notre Dame and the mother of three daughters with her husband, Dan Hicks of NBC Sports. She considers raising her children her greatest accomplishment.

Storm: Personal statement
I had just had my first child when NBC gave me a daunting assignment: first play-by-play voice of the newly established WNBA. It required a summer of travel and untold hours of preparation, developing a new broadcast skill ... a stressful task for a new mother. Little could I have imagined that the league's biggest star was about to undergo a similar journey.

Sheryl Swoopes was counted upon to launch the fledgling WNBA. She became the first woman to have a Nike shoe named after her, the Air Swoopes, under the Jordan brand. A superstar who led Texas Tech to a national championship, Swoopes became pregnant before the start of the season. When she returned for the final third of the season to play for my hometown team, the Houston Comets, we had an immediate connection as young mothers trying to find our way in uncharted waters.

Swoopes delivered the first of a remarkable four WNBA championships for the Comets. As the confetti rained down at the Houston Summit in that first August, I felt an inexorable sense of pride in Sheryl, in my city and in myself. It was that connection with Sheryl that inspired me to tell her story.

I feel honored that Sheryl has entrusted her story to me, as it has been largely untold in her voice. It's a rich story indeed, punctuated with an honesty that few public figures possess.

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