Cynthia Cooper-Dyke: Curls and whirls

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Basketball legend Cynthia Cooper-Dyke talks about her legacy on the court and how she plans to add to it from the USC bench in this episode of "In The Game With Robin Roberts."

Age: 50

Birthplace: Born in Chicago and raised in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles

Siblings: Two older sisters, JoAnne and Drena; two older brothers, Kenneth and Everett (deceased); two younger sisters, Stephanie and Lisa; younger brother, Charles

Twitter handle: @AllDecade14

Twitter followers: 4,040

15 things you don't know about Cynthia Cooper-Dyke:

1. About all those siblings: "I was fifth, so I considered myself a middle child," Cooper-Dyke says. "You're just trying to survive, dealing with the older bosses and the younger babies. It toughens you up and helped me be ready for anything."

2. In the 1980s, she met Michael Jackson at the Shrine Auditorium and shook his sparkly gloved hand.

3. She will never live down her old-school Jheri curl. Her teammates teased her about it then, and her USC players tease her about it now. "They'll pull old photos of me off the Internet and show up to practice with pictures of me wearing short shorts and a puffy Jheri curl. It's a source of laughter for them."

4. Double trouble: Cooper-Dyke has 11-year-old twins, Brian Jr. and Cyan. Cyan is a righty who enjoys facials and wants to be a roller coaster designer when she grows up. Brian is a lefty who prefers massages and wants to be an architect. They both would rather play tennis than basketball.

5. Here they are poking fun at mom's former Jheri curl.

6. Other than the occasional strawberry margarita, Cooper-Dyke doesn't drink. "I call myself a One-Drink Wonder," she says, "because if I have one drink, I'm wondering where I am."

7. If she couldn't play or coach basketball, she would be an attorney: "I've been told I could argue the skin off of a potato."

Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images

Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, at a 2007 Comets game with her twins, says daughter Cyan wants to design roller coasters and son Brian wants to be an architect.

8. Pregame ritual? Cooper-Dyke used to be known for taking 100 to 200 shots in a 15-minute warm-up routine that had her shooting from all over the court, all with the same ball from start to finish. The ritual started when she was playing overseas in Italy and was practiced with religious dedication. It worked out pretty well: When she retired from the Houston Comets in 2000, Cooper-Dyke (then just Cooper) became the first player in WNBA history to hit the 500-, 1,000-, 2,000- and 2,500-point career scoring plateaus.

9. She's gaga for Nutter Butter cookies and Red Vines licorice. "You can always tell when my staff wants to get in good with me because I'll find a box of Red Vines on my desk. And I was shocked and overjoyed when I discovered Dairy Queen made a Nutter Butter Blizzard."

10. She frequently retweets preacher Joel Osteen. Some current favorites include "It's okay to like yourself while God is in the process of changing you. You're not a finished product." And "You can keep your joy by knowing that on the other side of every setback is a new opportunity."

11. The last thing Cooper-Dyke did that scared her: rode a wooden, double-loop roller coaster at Six Flags in San Antonio with her thrill-seeking daughter, Cyan. "I was trembling afterwards. Never again."

12. When she was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Aug. 13, 2010, she was part of the largest induction class in the Hall of Fame's history. Her fellow honorees included Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen and then-L.A. Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss.

13. One of her favorite USC moments as an undergrad is going to her first rock concert with then-teammate Tracy (Longo) Rath. "I had a great time just hanging out, and it opened my eyes to other forms of music and entertainment." That said, she rocks out to MJ's "Billie Jean" and has a reputation for trying to rap but forgetting the lyrics.

14. A member of her junior high track team (she won the city championship in the 300-meter hurdles one season), Cooper-Dyke didn't pick up a basketball until she was 15. "I was in the gym and saw a girl put the ball behind her back and make a layup," she recalls. "I thought, 'Wow, that's pretty cool.' A few years later, Cooper-Dyke was named 1981 L.A. City Player of the Year at Locke High, averaging 31 points a game and leading her teammates to the California State 4A championship.

15. Breast cancer has claimed the lives of two women who were extremely close to her: Her mother, Mary, was diagnosed in 1996 at age 61 and passed away three years later. Kay Yow, her '98 Olympic coach, also died from the disease. Throughout her career, Cooper-Dyke has worn a pink ribbon on her uniform to show her support, has participated in Bike for the Cure and Shoot for the Cure and has partnered with Susan G. Komen and others to raise awareness and funds for finding a cure.

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