Women of Troy (2020) Movie Script

incredible room we have here.
Let's give it up
for the Superbowl MVP.
overcomplicate everything.
players just gotta make plays.
moments when you improv
or even if it's something
What did you improv
in Black Panther?
CARTER: With Kobe,
and you knew him a bit, right?
Yeah. That day,
I didn't want to play,
but my mom, she was telling me
to play for him
and, uh, I hit a shot
I thought I would never hit
in my life.
Just felt like he was with me.
By the way,
your butt looks great on camera.
- Oh, thank you.
Announcer: The following is
a presentation of HBO Sports.
Doris Sable Burke:
So just imagine...
Michael Jordan walks
into the Boston Garden.
He puts 63 on
the Larry Bird-led Celtics...
and he gets hurt,
and Michael Jordan's
career is over.
We have just been teased
for what we know is
the formative stages
of greatness.
How rare is greatness?
Sustained, exceptional,
outside of anything you've
ever seen before in your life.
- (claps) - But Michael hurts
himself after that 63,
and we never hear or see
from him again.
That's Cheryl Miller.
- (crowd cheering) - COMMENTATOR:
Cheryl Miller, just a freshman,
perhaps the best
female player ever.
Commentator 2: Good afternoon,
ladies and gentlemen,
and welcome to Scope
for today's NCAA women's
basketball championship
between the Lady Techsters
of Louisiana Tech University
and the University of Southern
California Trojan women.
For Southern California,
at forward
a 6'2" freshman
from Riverside, California,
number 31, Cheryl Miller.
Cheryl Miller: I remember
being in my early teens,
and I wanted to try out
for the boys' team.
The coach wouldn't allow it.
He thought it was
kind of interesting or cute.
"Well, if you can beat my son
in a game of one-on-one,
I'll, I'll put you
on the team."
Well, I beat him one to 21,
and he still wouldn't
let me on the team.
Commentator: Cheryl Miller will
jump it against Janice Lawrence.
Two all-Americans...
Jackie MacMullan:
So part of the evolution
of the women's game is
the way you play the game,
and Louisiana Tech played a very
traditional style half-court.
And then when you have individual talents
come along, like a Cheryl Miller...
Commentator: Cheryl Miller,
driving on Jennifer White,
pulls up short...
...that just opens up a whole
new realm of possibility.
Commentator: USC in the gold,
as Cheryl Miller hits...
Geno Auriemma: That's
probably the next evolution
of college women's basketball.
So whatever was before,
that's not gonna be good enough anymore.
Commentator: Windham starts
to break down the court.
Cheryl Miller,
what a jumper. Got it!
Having these two teams clash together,
it helped women's basketball.
Commentator: I think these
two teams pretty well know
they're the best
in college basketball.
This is for all the marbles...
When you look back on that USC
team, my goodness.
Cynthia Cooper, the McGee
twins, Cheryl Miller...
that's a Hall of Fame
lineup right there.
Our team was special,
we were kind of a bridge-layer.
We laid the bridge
for, for the league,
for the WNBA to come behind us.
We set a standard.
Cynthia Cooper: Every time
we stepped out on the court,
we showcased a level of talent
that everybody wanted
to be a part of.
We did our part to give these kids
an opportunity to pursue a dream
of playing
professional basketball.
Commentator: ...the Women of Troy
to be number one in the country.
Before the season, they were number
one, they dipped to number two...
(film projector clicking)
Female Narrator: The offensive
player tries to tap to a player
ready to shoot
or pass in for a shot.
Sonja Hogg:
It was, at that time,
the powers to be felt that
our girls couldn't take
the strenuous activity,
going full court,
up and down like the guys.
We started playing,
it was half-court,
and you could not cross
the center line.
Narrator: Hold the ball in both
hands, pushing hand cupped beneath.
As you start to leap,
raise the ball...
With men, they started
to evolve on their own.
Women, it was
up to everybody else
how they could play
the game, not them.
Sonja Hogg: It just took
time and persistence
and our young girls
showin' that,
you know,
we could play five-on-five.
Commentator: ...the final game at
the AIAW 1973 national tournament.
I grew up in an area
outside Philadelphia
where Immaculata College
was really the dynasty
in women's basketball.
You can hear the crowd.
Boy, are they wild.
And Immaculata...
I'm not even sure if anybody,
outside the Philadelphia area
in the beginning,
knew who Immaculata was,
and then all of a sudden...
pew, they became pretty famous.
I think people were like, "Why doesn't
it have traction? What is missing?"
Women's tennis was nothing
until that ridiculous
publicity stunt
with Bobby Riggs
and Billie Jean King
got put on national television.
The feminist thing, uh,
how important is that, Billie?
The women's movement
is important to me.
The women's movement
is really making a better life
for more people
other than just women.
The male is king
and the male is supreme.
I've said it over and over
again, I still feel that way.
Girls play a nice game
of tennis for girls,
but when they get out there
on a court with a man,
they're gonna be in big trouble.
MacMullan: And then all of a
sudden, she won that match.
Crazy right? She was a world-class
player and he was a has-been,
but somehow that resonated
in our country,
and that vaulted women's tennis
into where they are today...
one of the few sports that really
does have some, uh, some juice,
if you will,
compared to the men.
Well, anytime anything
is televised,
that's when you've made it,
and the key is
to stay on television...
to earn that spot
and to keep it.
And right now,
a live basketball game,
a women's basketball game,
a new sport in the Olympics.
It's between the United States
and Canada.
In '76, I'd been on the very first
women's, uh, Olympic team.
That was the first year that they had
basketball in the Olympics for women,
and we won silver.
Annie was pretty unbelievable.
I think she's almost
four years older than me.
And I remember going
to my first try-out camp,
and I asked somebody, I said like,
"Who's the best player here?"
And they said, "Her," and "her" was
Ann Meyers. She was unbelievable.
Commentator: At UCLA,
Ann Meyers was named to the all-America
basketball team
four straight years,
the only woman so honored.
But when she signed a contract
with the Indiana Pacers
of the NBA last week,
some called it a publicity stunt.
Commentator 2: Among most
players and veteran observers,
the consensus is that Meyers,
dwarfed and outweighed by up to 100 pounds,
is a publicity gimmick.
Ann Meyers Drysdale: I know
the media was very harsh.
As much as it was
a circus to them,
uh, it certainly wasn't to me.
Commentator 2: And while she's probably the
best female basketball player in the world,
here, that's not good enough.
I had heard that the great
players played at Rucker Park.
I was about 12 years old,
and I had put T-shirts
in my jacket,
so I would look bigger
on the train.
I walked into Rucker Park and some
guy came over to me and he goes,
"Little girl, are you lost?"
I said, "No, are you?"
And the guy goes,
"You sure you know where you are?"
I said, "Yeah. I'm sorry,
is your name Rucker?"
And he said, "No." I said, "Good.
It ain't your park."
Sable Burke: I remember
going out to the park
that happened to be
next-door to my house,
and dreaming, for the longest
time, of being Kyle Macy.
Commentator: In the corner,
Kyle Macy, and he hits again.
Commentator: It's Doris
Sable, from Manasquan.
She'll start tonight.
Number 11.
Sable Burke: I'd play out
an entire game in my head,
whatever you'd see on TV,
but I was always a guy,
until I saw Nancy Lieberman,
who was at Old Dominion
at the time.
It was the first time an athletic
scholarship came into my mind,
because I heard
the announcer say,
"These women are
on scholarship."
It blew my mind.
I had had over a hundred
scholarship offers,
which I needed,
because I was that poor kid
who had to get an education.
Of all college sports, none is growing
more rapidly than women's basketball,
a game of high scores
and high drama.
MacMullan: I think a
lot of things changed,
but the most significant thing
was Title IX.
And of course,
most people think Title IX
was an athletic thing,
it wasn't.
It was for equal education.
It's called Title IX,
the law which cuts off
federal funding
to educational institutions
that discriminate against
women and minority.
MacMullan: To me,
the reason why it took so long
for Title IX to actually
kick in was
simply that there weren't enough people
that were willing to take a chance
and challenge them
to enforce it.
(protesters chanting)
Commentator: It was one
year ago in Eugene, Oregon,
that Louisiana Tech celebrated their
first women's national championship
by beating the University
of Tennessee.
Louisiana Tech,
they were the school that you thought,
well, they've really got it
figured out.
Commentator: Opening tip-off
for the first-ever women's NCAA
women's championship game
controlled by Louisiana Tech.
Auriemma: Then you see Louisiana
Tech, and every year,
like a well-oiled machine, man.
They were legendary.
MacMullan: There was a brand associated
with Louisiana Tech back then.
They had Sonja Hogg,
this very Southern,
big, blond hair
dynamo on the sideline.
Hogg: We started our
program at Louisiana Tech.
We were the
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.
We all know that a female dog
is called a bitch.
But I just didn't want, uh,
"bitch" to be along with,
"Here come Coach Hogg
and all her little 'hoo-hoo.'"
I said, "Okay. We're gonna be
called the Lady Techsters."
Sable Burke: If there's
one thing you associated
with Louisiana Tech back then,
it was the unique style
of the uniform.
When you think basketball
uniform, you think no sleeve.
You think freedom of movement,
so you can get the ball
into your shooting pocket.
Not the Lady Techsters.
Sonja Hogg: I wanted
sleeves in those uniforms
for reasons we probably
both know...
with bra straps hangin',
and break... you know, all of that.
And, and so I just thought
that was very appropriate.
Commentator: Kim Mulkey who
can really run the attack
despite the fact
she's only 5'4".
She was a great high school
player and a great scorer.
You just wanted to represent
your school
in a way that, um...
was classy.
Hogg: She brought a whole
different dimension.
She averaged, uh,
over her high school career,
38 points a game.
We, as student athletes,
would never have probably
been at Louisiana Tech
if not for Sonja Hogg
recruiting us.
The lady could sell
ice to an Eskimo.
Commentator: That'll do it.
First-ever NCAA women national champions...
the Lady Techsters
from Louisiana Tech.
Auriemma; Normally, you'd have
guards that can handle the ball,
or you'd have, like,
a win player, you know,
5'11", six-foot, you know.
Or you got a big post player,
you know,
back then, you know,
post 'em up.
Louisiana Tech
was great at this.
L... Tennessee
was great at that.
Get those post players,
bury 'em in the lane, throw it in there,
and just bully you and beat you.
And then Cheryl came along,
and it was...
This kid's, like,
as big as Louisiana Tech's post players,
and she's faster
than all your guards,
and she plays at the rim.
So it was something
that was unique
to the game at that time.
Commentator: 32-to-16 ball game.
Twenty-one for Miller.
She picks it off.
This will be no contest.
I wasn't just a showboat.
I was very good at being
a showboat. (laughs)
Commentator: You just can't
say enough about Cheryl Miller.
I am really impressed.
And there she is again.
Broadcaster: She's the most sought-after
high school girl athlete ever,
as letters from a couple
of hundred colleges prove.
But I love the attention.
Keep writing. (laughs)
Broadcaster: Her family has
installed a special phone
for calls from recruiters.
When I turned 11,
that's when everything broke loose.
It was my brothers and I
against the neighborhood,
and it was, you know,
it just started from there.
Reggie Miller:
Between all of us,
Cheryl and I are
the closest in age,
so we were always together.
Which means we were
always paired together,
either on the same team,
but most of the time,
going against one another.
Cheryl Miller:
My relationship with Reggie...
he was my best friend,
growing up.
We're just a year apart.
Reggie Miller:
Those one-on-one games,
they were a learning curve
for myself,
because she was
predominantly the victor,
and I was the one that
was getting the beat-down.
Iron sharpens iron, and that's
what we really did for each other.
Man, she was...
She was a bad motherfucker.
Broadcaster: Imagine a
basketball game in which
the final score is 179 to 15,
and the highest scorer
got 105 points.
It was unbelievable,
until last night in Riverside, California.
The game broke eight
national and state records,
and the winning team's best
player is a 17-year-old girl
with a great slam dunk.
Cheryl Miller:
When I was being recruited,
the two biggest reasons
that I decided to go to USC
were Pam and Paula McGee.
Good shot, Pam.
You know, she,
she verballed to UCLA,
and we went over and spent
the night at her house.
Woman: Come on, come on.
You got it. You got it.
(players shout indistinctly)
And we basically told her,
I said, "Cheryl Miller,
"I'm gonna just keep it
real with you.
"You will be probably
Parade All-American.
"You'll be the number one
player in the country.
"But you only got one problem:
You'll never win a championship,
"'cause you gotta come through us.
"We're number two
in the country, baby.
We're trying to do
something special."
And all of a sudden,
I just felt,
like, something itching...
inching in on me.
And before I knew it,
I was sitting like this,
and I'm looking at
both at Pam and Paula,
and they said, "Look.
We got a proposition for you.
"You can play two years with us,
or you play two years
against us."
Pam McGee: And she was
like, "Well, you know,
y'all two all-Americans
and all that."
You know, how all of us
gon' play together. I say,
"I've been playing
with her all my life.
"It might be your day on Monday,
"Paula's game on Tuesday,
my game on Wednesday.
We're trying to do
something special."
I said, "Where do I sign?"
Some people said that, um,
when you came to SC, that, um,
that there wouldn't be enough
Do you think there's
any kind of animosities
or problems with, um,
the SC basketball team?
Well, no. Coach Sharp
ordered some more balls,
and, uh, there's enough
to go around,
so, there's no problem
right there.
Juliette Robinson:
Cheryl was number 31,
and Cheryl wanted number 31
when she came to USC,
and I wore number 31.
I took my jersey off.
Here, give this... Let's do this.
(players shouting indistinctly)
Rhonda Windham: Having
Cheryl Miller on our team,
it was a really special time,
because it was a new frontier
for women's basketball.
Well, there was a lot
of hoopla around Cheryl.
She was number one recruit.
She had scored over
a hundred points in a game.
Newsman: How awesome
is she as a player?
Paula McGee: Um, what's
beyond awesome? You spell
women's basketball
M-I-L-L-E-R. (laughs)
There was always this
between Cheryl and I.
I think she had
something to prove,
and I definitely had
a chip on my shoulder
and felt like I had to prove,
not just to her,
but to everyone watching, hey,
you know,
I'm kind of talented, too.
(crowd cheering)
Paula McGee: They called this the
kind of showtime from Hollywood.
And, you know, we didn't play
that kind of Southern,
Southern basketball
where you just keep
pounding in the, in the paint.
We would run.
We, you know, liked
to consider ourselves
the baddest girls
breathing at that time.
I'm thinking, wait a minute.
6'3", 6'3", 6'2",
Cynthia Cooper...
we got a squad.
Let's do this.
We'd walk into a gym,
and these girls didn't
look like us at all.
Now, those of us that were from
what we'd just say, the streets,
look at each other.
Windham: Pure competition,
every single day.
You know, almost to the point where the
games were easier than the practices.
Robinson: Cheryl was just one
of the most competitive people
I've ever seen in my life.
She's diving under the table.
We're like,
"Cheryl, this is practice."
I only knew how to play one way.
No blood, no foul,
get up, shut up.
If you ain't bleeding,
you don't have a foul, whatever it is.
You take that, and you get
a collective group of women
who understand that concept...
Look, if we put some gun powder,
nitro glycerin,
gasoline together,
it's about to blow up.
Let's go to work.
Meeting the McGee twins,
first I was like, "Y'all big."
They are two different
individuals all the way.
I tried to get her to take my
calculus test, she wouldn't do it.
Paula was a little
more rational than Pam.
Pam was like,
out there a little bit.
If she knows my
social security number...
One side is glam girl, showtime.
She was like, "No, Pam.
I'll get up there,
and I'll probably forget and
write my social security number."
The other side is studious,
you know, focused.
Again, you notice the difference
in the personalities.
But, man, when they fought,
You didn't wanna
be in the middle of it.
- Cynthia and Cheryl?
- (laughs)
We'll let them tell that story.
- Oh, my gosh. - Coop was like,
you know, she had a mouth on her.
And she did a lot of this,
and I did a lot of that,
and she was better at that.
I don't know.
They was just mad or something.
You know, they was
in one of their moments.
"I'm Cynthia Cooper,
Started rapping or something.
I'm like, "Man, can...
Do you ever shut up?"
- I said, "Cheryl!"
- The final game for the region.
"What is wrong with you?
That's Cynthia Cooper."
- From Watts.
- "She's from Watts!
I wouldn't even fight
Cynthia Cooper."
"I don't care. I don't care,"
and Cooper's just staring at me.
I said, "Well, I don't care right
now, but later, I might care."
There was definitely
some friction,
but there's nothing better
than playing with the most
talented and gifted player
ever to play women's basketball.
Cheryl Miller on the drive.
Nobody does it better.
Cheryl Miller:
Fierce competitor.
Maybe that's why
we butted heads.
We were...
We were more similar
than we gave
ourselves credit for.
Cooper: The great thing about
coming from the inner city
is that you're not afraid
of anyone.
SC opened up a whole
new world for me.
Well, it was a constant
tug-of-war for me,
like I was a,
a fish out of water,
and like, this was absolutely
not the place
that I was supposed to be.
I just really longed for
someone that understood me,
someone that knew
where I'd come from.
The letters from Ricky
were special.
They, they were...
They were my bro,
helping his lil' sis
through this tough time.
I was very, very close
with Ricky.
And for that person to say
I could do it... Oh, okay.
Well, okay,
I can actually do it,
because he knows
where I came from.
My childhood was tough.
It's tough as a kid to not know
you're gonna have a place
to lay your head.
We didn't know sometimes where
our next meal was coming from.
I used to play pickup with Ricky
on the blacktops at
Locke High School,
because we were too poor to,
to go places, and,
and enjoy stuff outside of Watts.
Where will the Wizard's
skills be next year?
The Wizard's skills
will be at USC.
Robinson: I think that
there was an issue
with being black at USC.
African-Americans outside of USC
looked at us a little bit differently.
We were not only fighting
issues of gender,
we were also dealing with
issues of race as well.
And, some of our alumni would
say, "Oh, but you're different.
Oh no, you're different."
I said, "No."
Paula McGee:
There was a kind of idea that
the African-Americans
in this community
were different than
those of us who were SC.
Robinson: We were just
as black as they were,
we just had
a different experience.
And we just were aware
we had to carry ourselves
a little bit differently.
So the perception of us looked
different, but it wasn't.
We were just as black
as they were.
We just were in
an environment that,
that was extremely
new to us as well.
But the beauty of all of that,
when you don't have something,
you hungry,
we knew how to hustle,
and we, we hustled.
And we knew how to, you know,
okay, let's just get down
and do what we have to do,
we went to work.
It was a magical time.
We were either ranked number one
in the country or number two.
We would, you know, go back and
forth between us and Louisiana Tech.
Commentator: (indistinct)
by number 31, Cheryl Miller.
Gettin' a win on the road
was, was tough
in some of the places
that we played in.
I always took 'em to places
so they could learn from it.
They could compete
at a high level.
That would prepare us for
the NCA tournaments.
And so I would play
a tough schedule.
(crowd cheering)
Windham: So we had our
first big road trip.
We were gonna play Louisiana
Tech and then Tennessee.
You know, who does that
to some freshmen?
The Lady Techsters
built an arena
and they invited us in
to play that game.
- (crowd cheering)
- (announcer shouts indistinctly)
And you have this announcer...
And, again, I'm a city girl,
we're down South.
So he has the Southern drawl,
and he's like,
"And here they come.
Your Lady Techsters."
I'm thinking, there's no way
we're getting out of here alive.
If you went to Ruston, Louisiana,
for a women's basketball game,
the stadium was packed,
they were loud as hell,
they were intimidating.
And winning in that
kind of environment,
forget about it.
Tough. Tough to do.
Well, we proceeded to get beat.
(crowd booing)
It felt so good,
so good ruining their party.
And we were walking out,
and I'm, you know,
blowing kisses to the crowd
being booed and
everything else, and...
you know, just to rub
a little salt in the wound.
But, um, that was outstanding.
MacMullan: Now we have
what everybody wants,
everybody thirsts for,
in their sport:
a rivalry, and not just any
rivalry, a hated rivalry.
They didn't like each other.
The players didn't like
each other.
The coaches,
depending on which day,
liked each other,
didn't like each other.
Commentator: Good afternoon,
ladies and gentlemen,
and welcome to Scope
for today's NCAA Women's
Basketball Championship.
between the Lady Techsters
of Louisiana Tech University,
and the University of Southern
California Trojan women.
So will we have a new
national champion,
the Women of Troy?
Or will it be the establishment,
as Louisiana Tech
goes for its third in a row.
Cooper: I understood
what we had to do
in order to get
that fan support.
We had to win championships
to get that fan support.
You don't just get it because
you're a popular team
or 'cause you guys are pretty.
No, you get it because you win.
If they don't win, they're...
they're a sidenote in history.
Meyers Drysdale: Before the
tip-off, Cheryl Miller, number 31,
kind of looked over at me, kind of
like, put her hand to her heart,
like she was really nervous
before this game.
You could tell on that tip.
Commentator: Miller's
first shot is blocked...
I think a lot of people don't
realize when you get into
the championship game,
which was USC's
first championship,
that there's a lot of nerves.
Meyers Drysdale: Well, as you said,
both teams have had a tendency to get...
(continues indistinctly)
USC turning the ball over
right there.
I think they're a little bit
nervous in this game right now...
Meyers Drysdale: USC just really,
they couldn't get into it.
They missed a lot of shots.
Uh, Louisiana Tech,
they'd been there.
Commentator: Mulkey on the drive.
There she is and off to Rodman.
White gets it down quickly
to Lori Scott.
White hits another one.
Tech has been virtually
flawless here in the first half.
Four seconds left in the half.
Cheryl Miller. Ball is on the floor.
There's the horn,
ending the first half of play.
A half of frustration for USC.
Cheryl Miller: I was nervous.
I think we all were.
So we come in at halftime,
and Coach Sharp comes in, calm.
And then she goes,
"We're gonna do something.
We're gonna do one thing and
it's gonna turn the game around."
And she goes,
"We're gonna press."
When she said, "press,"
and we all knew what that...
you know, do our thing.
Commentator: Cheryl Miller driving
on Jennifer White. Pulls up short.
I was in Norfolk, Virginia.
It was my first-ever
women's Final Four.
My only women's Final Four,
I might add.
And I didn't know
much about USC,
because I was from New England.
You weren't reading
about them in the paper.
You weren't watching
them on television.
And I went to Norfolk, Virginia,
and I went into that gym,
and I watched Cheryl Miller
play basketball, and I said,
"This is unbelievable."
Commentator: Fine pass
underneath to Lawrence,
as the shot blocked
goes up again. Loose ball...
I had never really seen
any women player
take over a game like that.
Commentator: Nice pass,
and Cheryl Miller blocked it.
Picked it right out of the air.
However, Lori Scott
blocked by Miller.
Cheryl Miller on the rebound.
White having a tough time
getting it down court.
Offensive foul on Lori Scott.
Meyers Drysdale: There sure have been a
lot of offensive fouls called in this game.
Just a freshman.
Perhaps the best
best female player ever.
She is seven out of eight
from the free-throw line.
Six baskets for 19 points,
and the inbound pass is stolen,
and a chance to
trim it down to three.
Everybody said this
would be a tight game.
It took a while, but it sure is.
Linda Sharp, the head coach
at USC.
Getting to be nervous-time now with
the national championship at stake.
Paula McGee...
Paula McGee with her
seventh basket.
Fourteen points. Pressure by
USC... And a steal by Paula McGee!
And I remember I hit
a big shot in that game.
And everyone expected
Cheryl Miller to take the shot
or one of the McGee twins
to take the shot.
But Coach Sharp
called that play for me.
Commentator: And USC has come back
all the way and taken the lead.
Right now we're down
to 30 seconds.
Southern Cal
with a two-point lead.
69-67. They have the ball.
Inbounding it to Kathy Doyle.
Someone tapped the ball away
from Kathy Doyle,
and went on a fast break.
Commentator: Inside of five seconds
before they take that shot off.
Doyle has it stolen.
Down to Mulkey.
Ten seconds left.
Mulkey for the tie!
(commentator shouts
Cheryl Miller: And we got the ball back.
I'm jumping around,
'cause I'm like, "Forget the call.
You took a charge!
Cynthia, you took a charge!"
It was so amazing,
because I really felt,
I felt closer to Cheryl then,
than I had ever felt
during my time at, at USC.
Meyers Drysdale: Tosses it
out to Mulkey on the wing.
Cooper getting back.
Three-on-three situation.
Mulkey taking it right in.
Cooper: You know,
Cheryl was a well-rounded player.
She played on both sides of the
ball, offensively and defensively.
And so, when she saw me do that,
it really felt like I...
I felt good.
I felt like I had earned
Cheryl Miller's respect.
One second.
It's all over, and Southern Cal
has won the national
Commentator: Cheryl,
great way to start your college career.
I couldn't think of
a better way. Fantastic.
It's... I don't know. I'm just so
excited, I can hardly talk right now.
USC beats Louisiana Tech
69 to 67.
For Ann Meyers,
this is Frank Glieber,
returning you to Pat Summerall
in New York.
Pat Summerall: Thank you very
much, Frank, and congratulations
to the Trojans. They have
dethroned the defending champions.
Man, that was the best
moment of my life.
(crowd cheering)
Robinson: The respect
in women's basketball?
We took that.
We took it from Louisiana.
We took it from the East Coast.
We took it. Yes, we did.
So, to do that and now,
okay, we the champions.
We the champions.
We already had the attitudes.
In a good way.
We already had that,
that superior champion
that you need to have to,
to do what we did.
And now we were, we were,
we were national champions?
And we had the same team?
Broadcaster: Just after
5:30, the Trojans return home
to a heroes' welcome.
The fans whooped it up
as the USC band welcomed
their champions home.
That's the '83
championship team.
Women of Troy. Yes.
Brought to you by... No.
Broadcaster: Super sophomore Cheryl
Miller needs no introduction.
Southern Cal's forward
has created a sensation
with her flamboyant
style of play.
Lieberman: That team
was great for the game.
It just elevated it,
the awareness.
Cheryl, you know,
was a mega-star,
Cheryl Miller: Oh, we were called
"Hollywood." That was our name.
There was Showtime...
Commentator: That was
a spread-eagle rebound,
down the middle to Green.
He's there, he got it. He scores!
Cheryl Miller: And it's Hollywood.
That's what they would call us.
"Hey, Hollywood!" I'm like,
we would all turn around. "Yeah?"
You know, but that...
That was us.
Sable Burke: This is what struck
me so much about Cheryl Miller is
she was unafraid
to be unabashedly
in your face good.
And she was from Los Angeles.
And, you know,
was totally comfortable
operating in the spotlight.
Do you know how unusual that was
for a woman in that day and age
to sort of embrace
all eyes on me?
Broadcaster: She's already got the
attention that comes with celebrity.
- I love it. (laughs)
- Journalist: Why?
Well, it's... I kind of figure if
you... you have to take it now,
because someday
it may not be there.
Cheryl Miller:
And all of a sudden, you know,
people kind of are approaching
you a little differently and...
talking to you
a little differently, and...
oh, you're a celebrity now.
Sable Burke:
Here she is, having to
be the face of a program,
in a media market like LA,
and changed the dynamic
for women's basketball.
(players yelling)
It just, it just...
Can you imagine?
You know, now, now,
now the heads can get bigger.
Now we already have some big
heads, now the heads
can get even bigger.
It's amazing we can get in the gym.
But we wasn't gonna happen... It
just really wasn't gonna happen.
And I think, if I'm not
mistaken, that's 36 years ago.
If I'm not mistaken,
we almost darn near went undefeated.
(siren blaring)
Cooper: I remember about
three o'clock in the morning,
bamming on the door,
bamming on the door.
And I open the door.
It's like, oh, your brother
has, has been, um,
like, he'd been hurt.
He was stabbed.
I was scared to death.
And I'll just never forget
a few hours later,
the doctor coming down the hallway,
uh, telling us that they
had done all they could,
and that he was gone.
And I was heartbroken.
I mean, my brother was gone.
My rock.
The guy who told me
that I could do it,
um, he was, he was dead.
Like, there was... I couldn't
talk to him anymore.
It was my first experience
with death.
And also, my mom, she needed some money.
She needed help.
Maybe I was right all along.
Maybe this isn't
the place for me.
So she quit school.
Um, she went to work
in a bank. Um...
She felt like that's
what she had to do
to get some money for her mom.
Linda says,
"Okay, Fred. Go find her."
I went driving to her house.
Four or five guys jumped out
in front of the car
and says, "Hey,
what are you doin' on our block?"
And I'm like, "Well,
I'm, I'm here... I'm s..."
You know, I didn't even know
my name at the time. (laughs)
I was just shaking.
But I said, um,
"I'm here to look for my
player Cynthia Cooper.
"She's, you know,
I'm just trying to get her back in school.
I'm, you know,
assistant coach at USC."
So the guys...
One of the guys said, "Hey.
"Go see if, uh, Coop's mom's home.
See if Coop's there.
If she ain't home,
we're gonna have to take care of you."
And I'm like, "Oh, man." I'm
sitting in the car, just shaking.
And then Mrs. Cobbs, at that
time, was Coop's mom, says,
"Oh, that's Coach Williams.
Leave him alone! Let him go."
I was like, oh, my goodness.
She just saved my life.
They had enough conviction,
and they felt strongly enough,
in me, and in my future,
that they came and sat down
and convinced me and my mom
that the best choice for me
was to get back into school,
and get back into basketball.
And had they not done that,
nothing else happens
after that for me.
Commentator: They were stuck
by (indistinct). Got it back!
Another circus shot.
Cynthia Cooper.
Makes it a one-point game.
Cooper: And I remember
Coach Sharp saying, "Listen.
Basketball has always
been your outlet."
She said, "Don't ruin it.
"Don't go on the court
and bring what you...
What, what happened off the court,
don't bring that on the court."
Eight-point lead for USC,
which would match their
biggest lead in the game.
Cynthia Cooper with a steal
in the drive, and there's two.
(crowd cheering)
Down to Sheila Collins.
Ostrowski has the shot blocked on her
by who else? Cheryl Miller.
Down to Miller.
One more time for Cheryl Miller.
Meyers Drysdale:
She's doing it all now.
- (horn sounds)
- Commentator: That does it.
- (crowd roaring)
- (band playing)
The USC Women of Troy
are the 1984 NCAA champions,
as they beat the University
of Tennessee 72 to 61...
Ronald Reagan: ...looked forward to
this, to welcome you all
to the White House.
And, uh, I want to congratulate you
on the magnificent
season that you had.
You've not only won
another title for the school,
you've done a great deal,
I think, for women's sports.
Cooper: I didn't see
it as a USC trip.
I saw it as a kid from Watts,
going to the White House.
Who would have thought?
Ladies and gentlemen,
at this time,
we are in our final
approach into Los Angeles,
the home of the
1984 Summer Olympics.
It is here at the Forum,
the home of the
Los Angeles Lakers,
that the men's and women's
basketball competition
will be held for these
1984 Olympic games.
Pam McGee: We won a
national championship
back-to-back in April.
I graduated in May from USC.
Then Olympics was
that year in LA,
at the Los Angeles Forum.
So it was just a great year.
Broadcaster: The picture is live.
The moment is now.
Six o'clock on a summer
Friday evening in Los Angeles,
but a Friday like none other in
the history of Southern California,
because the picture is of the Olympic
torch being carried through...
Pam McGee: At 12 years
old, we saw Lusia Harris
in the Ebony magazine,
and said, "Oh, wow.
"They have basketball
in the Olympics.
We want to be the first twins
to go the Olympics."
1984 Olympic team. Um...
What are your plans?
You want to be on that team.
How about the twins?
You think that you three can make it...
all three of you can be
on that team?
- I see no reason why we can't.
- (both laughing)
I felt so bad for Paula.
So bad. Because there's
no way in the world
that she should have been
left off that...
of, uh, that Olympic team.
No way.
Commentator: Cheryl Miller
has been an unquestioned star
of this American team.
She has come in as a junior
from University of
Southern California.
I called her at one time,
uh, a prototype, perhaps,
of the next generation.
She was the face,
in a lot of ways,
not only of USC
and the West Coast,
she was the face
for a period of time there,
of women's basketball.
With the Soviet boycott,
it would appear that your women
would be favored.
More pressure.
I think so. I told our,
our team immediately
after the boycott announcement.
I thought it put us
in a position to
have to be able to,
to be the Soviets, more or less,
in the eyes of the opposition,
and I think people
will really be
gunning for our basketball team.
Mulkey: We were good.
We knew we were good.
I mean, if you looked
up and down our lineup,
and you're being coached
by Pat Summitt,
we didn't think about,
um, it had never been done.
We knew we were gonna win it.
- (crowd cheering)
- (horn blows)
The game is over.
The United States women have won
the gold medal in basketball.
First gold medal in
Olympic basketball
for US women.
Pam had the gold medal
around her neck,
and she tapped it
and looked at me.
That moment that Pam
put that medal
around Paula's neck,
it was so moving.
I felt that I wanted her
to have a part of it.
Paula McGee: She had been saying
that, "I'm playing for my sister."
It wa...
It was tough after the Olympics,
because I'm coming off of two
national championships, back-to-back,
then winning a gold medal
in my backyard.
Now what do I focus on?
Where... Where... What's
my... What's my next goal?
It's over for a lot of us.
Uh, unless we go
overseas to play,
we'll never tie those
tennis shoes again.
Sable Burke: Well,
imagine being the very best of the best
at what you do.
You have something
to offer people.
But there's no place for you
to do the thing that you love.
Commentator: You're looking
at the premiere player
in women's basketball,
Cheryl Miller.
She's carried the banner
of the sport for four years,
a four-time all-American.
Today in her final appearance,
seeking her third NCAA title
in four years.
I always knew,
and was always dreaming
that there would be a women's
professional league,
but there was nothing...
there was nothing in the mix.
Nothing in the making.
You don't have any options.
You can't get paid to do it.
Nobody wants to
watch you do it anymore.
What do you do?
Where do you go?
The hardest thing for me was
watching all these great players,
and you never saw 'em again,
because their only option
was to go overseas.
Interviewer: Might you be good
enough to play in the NBA?
Well, you know,
me and my brother, Reggie,
he plays for UCLA right now,
uh, we've had dreams about
playing on the Lakers together
when we were growing up,
but as far as being competitive
with the men on that kind of
level, I don't know.
But what I hope to see is
a woman's professional league.
Sable Burke: Here she was,
the very best of the best at what she did,
and she's got no place to go.
I really... I can't imagine
the devastation of that.
(crowd cheering)
Commentator: 27 points ties
the championship record,
but probably be, uh,
little comfort to Cynthia,
with her team losing
this ball game.
Cynthia played a strong...
As I'm leaving school,
my eligibility is up.
I'm about to...
to get into the world,
all right? I...
I find a, um, an agent.
And the agent is like,
"You know what?
Maybe you could go to Mexico.
Or maybe you can get a job..."
I was like, "No, I heard that the
best basketball jobs are in Italy."
(commentator speaking
in Italian)
I played in Italy ten seasons.
I, I learned the language there.
(speaking Italian)
All of this is from USC
telling me what I could do.
From USC opening up
the windows of the world to me,
and saying,
"Hey. You can do this."
We tried out with
the Harlem Globetrotters.
You both are very attractive.
Do you think the wives and
girlfriends of the Globetrotters
- are going to resent you
being on the... - (laughing)
- Well, I don't think so.
- I don't think so.
And then I went overseas,
and Pam was here
doing some speaking for USC,
and that sort of thing.
I was kind of burned out.
Then she saw
how much money I made,
- and she was like... - And I
said, "I'll be there." (laughs)
Cheryl Miller: After my senior
year, and I'd finished,
um, I decided to...
get into a pick-up game with,
uh, some football players.
And we had ran, like,
nine games and everything.
I said, "I'm starting to
get a little tired."
And I said, "I'm good, guys."
They're like, "No, come on, Cheryl.
One more game."
And I remember
the football player,
he fell, and I had the ball,
and I went to jump over him,
and I landed, and I heard a pop.
And I said,
"Oh, that doesn't feel right."
And so I went down
to the training room,
and, you know, I was limping,
and they put me on the table,
and she started moving
my leg around,
and then she kind of like,
went, like, pale.
And I said, "What's wrong?"
And she goes,
she goes, uh,
"I think you tore your ACL."
And I'm like,
"What does that mean?"
And she goes, she goes,
"I think your basketball career is over."
MacMullan: If it had
happened ten years later,
they'd do some quick surgery
and she'd be back out there.
I'd have probably
played overseas.
I probably would have gone
and tried to, um,
extend my career.
A force, a personality,
a combination we had
never, ever seen before,
was done at 22.
It's sad, because she was
never able to come back.
I mean, with all the technology,
and people that have
come back from ACLs,
the fact that she's...
she was never able to come back,
and really play...
I don't know it if haunts her,
but it haunts me,
because I know how much
she loves this game.
At 22,
I was considered by,
by everyone, you know,
the greatest player
in women's basketball.
Had everything going for me.
Until I got hurt.
Until I was robbed
of a precious gift,
that at times
I took for granted.
But I remember
that great feeling of loss.
And I remember feeling
like a toothless lion...
that's no longer
at the top of the food chain.
- (shoes squeaking on court)
- (players shouting)
I went to a storied college.
I went to the
University of Tennessee.
And one thing I knew
walking on the campus
was the history of
women's basketball.
I understood that
Title IX was huge.
I understood how crucial
and influential my coach was.
Commentator: Pat Summitt.
She's been here eight times.
MacMullan: The most
wonderful thing happened
for women's basketball.
And that was Pat Summitt,
because she, she is,
as far as I'm concerned,
the gatekeeper of the game.
Alberta Auguste.
Commentator 2: Pat and
Candace sharing a smile.
It's extraordinary what
Pat Summitt has done.
She's averaged 28 wins
per year, over 30...
Candace Parker: Years before,
Coach Summitt was driving the bus.
She was washing the clothes,
she was taping ankles.
She was a grad student
when she was hired.
She got paid $50 a month.
And then when I stepped on foot,
she was the highest paid coach
at just over a million.
She just won.
She just won,
and won again,
and won some more.
And then, of course,
they just became this phenomenon.
Every game was sold out.
Pat Summitt was the biggest
name in Tennessee sports.
Of any sport.
Journalist: Pam Summitt
is the preeminent coach
in women's college basketball,
and she just continues
to add to her legacy.
And then, along comes
this wisecracking,
pain in the fanny guy
from Yukon.
Right off the boat from Italy,
Doesn't want to
hear about Tennessee,
or the Vols,
or any of that stuff.
Just play me,
and I'll show you what we got.
Auriemma: When I got the
job, I said, "Look, guys,
I don't know where we're gonna
finish, but we're not finishing last."
Imagine that being the goal.
Like, every year,
you guys finish last.
How is that possible?
Commentator: 39 and 0.
Connecticut is perfect!
(crowd roaring)
(band playing upbeat music)
Rebecca Lobo: I was playing
at a university where
the athletic department
was giving as much support
to their women's basketball team
as they were
to their men's team.
Gampel Pavilion
had just been built.
We had state-of-the-art
Our locker rooms were as nice
as the men's locker rooms.
If I was born five years
before I was,
that wouldn't have been
the case, you know.
I'm a...
I'm a Title IX baby.
Auriemma: So,
we win a championship in '95.
The Olympics happen in '96.
And they happen to be
in America,
during Atlanta,
and the whole country is like,
"Wow. Look at all these guys.
Da da da da da."
Guys that hadn't gotten
a lot of attention, maybe,
leading up to this,
now it just, poof!
Cheryl Miller:
The 1996 women's Olympic team.
Because of them, and the
exposure, and the way they played,
it was a natural transition.
In basketball playground lingo,
the phrase "we got next"
means it's your turn to play
when the current game is over.
Well, these days in
professional basketball,
it's women who are speaking up,
and they've got
an awful lot to say.
For David Stern to put
the weight of the NBA behind it,
it meant that finally,
a women's basketball league
was going to have staying power.
As they say in the ad,
uh, it's about time.
To be able to coach
the Phoenix Mercury
in their inaugural season,
it was awesome.
All right, let's go.
Come on, now.
- PLAYER: Execute, one,
two, three... - ALL: Execute.
(players yelling)
Cooper: I placed a
call, and I was like,
"Hey, you know, I, I really want
"to play in the WNBA.
My name is Cynthia Cooper.
I'm playing over in Italy."
And they're like, "Cynthia Cooper?
You played for Parma?"
I was like, "Yeah. You know,
I put together these stats, video..."
They were like,
"We've been looking for you."
Sable Burke:
I am a woman,
and a women's basketball,
and basketball fan.
And those women completely
dropped out of my consciousness.
They were in Europe.
I didn't hear about 'em,
I didn't read about 'em,
I knew nothing about
their exploits over in Europe.
Nothing. And here they come,
back to the United States,
on NBC,
with Annie Meyers Drysdale,
and Mike Breen calling the game.
Are you kidding me?
This was paradise to me.
Meyers Drysdale: And now,
the official tip-off of today's game.
The first-ever game
for the women's NBA.
I didn't know anything
about Cynthia Cooper
when the league started,
but I learned pretty quickly. (chuckles)
It goes around! See that.
Are you kidding me?
MacMullan: Cynthia Cooper took
the league by storm in 1997
and became the MVP.
Meyers Drysdale:
Cynthia Cooper doing it all!
And the chance of MVP.
Crowd (chanting):
Lieberman: Who in the
WNBA had more experience
than Cynthia Cooper?
She had an old man's game,
but it was brilliant.
Nobody could stop her.
Commentator: Coop,
picked up by (indistinct),
drives right around her
to the rack, lays it up and in.
Are you kidding me?
She had countermoves.
Whatever you did,
she, she had a countermove
for everything.
She had step-through,
she had the Euro game.
Commentator: ...on the
baseline and she scores.
Cynthia Cooper, you're my hero.
Parker: I think, at 11 years
old, was when the WNBA started.
I remember turning on the game,
and Coop started
raising the roof.
And it just caught on.
So my whole AAU team did that.
My dad was like,
"If you raise the roof one more time,
you know, you guys are gonna be
sitting on the bench."
And after every play,
that's all we did.
Announcer: To the Houston
Comets, congratulations!
You're the first-ever
WNBA champions.
Lieberman: When I look
back on Women of Troy,
it's like we always say,
the script was written for
Cheryl to be the leading lady.
And because of injury,
it didn't happen.
Nobody could have predicted
that in 1997,
it would be Cynthia Cooper
who nobody really knew,
she would just take
the game over,
and she would be the MVP and she
would be the dominating player.
Commentator: Cooper,
out front from 17, perfect.
Absolutely perfect, and Cynthia
Cooper is lovin' life right now.
Sable Burke:
Four-time champion,
four-time MVP
of the WNBA finals.
Does life get better than that?
And you're 34 years old.
Total dichotomy of what
you would have thought
would have happened.
Cooper: I will tell you that
growing up in an inner city,
you don't have many dreams
of being in a hall of fame.
I feel very fortunate
to represent the WNBA,
as the first WNBA player
to be inducted.
Um, hopefully I'll represent
you all well. (chuckles)
It's just shame that the world
didn't get a chance
to see Cheryl Miller play
professional basketball.
Because Cheryl Miller
is the best
to ever play women's basketball.
Cheryl Miller: What I learned most
about having to go through that...
I didn't think I was gonna get
emotional about this, but, yeah.
I learned there was more to Cheryl
Miller than just basketball.
Joining me is Tony Parker.
And is this basically
turnaround, fair play,
because they got the better
of you guys the last time.
What was the difference tonight?
Then I went into broadcasting.
Seventeen years with TNT.
Sable Burke: Michael Jordan.
Shaquille O'Neal.
Name a star.
To watch those men treat a woman
with that level of respect,
it can't help but have
an impact moving forward,
on an entire gender.
Here those men were,
embracing a basketball person,
but a basketball person
who happened to be a woman,
and treating her as an equal.
That is where society changes.
The whole evolution of
women's basketball from,
from when I started playing,
to gaining the
fans' support at USC,
to gaining fans overseas,
because that's the only
opportunity we had to play...
to play basketball,
to then coming back
and playing in the WNBA,
that journey was amazing.
Mulkey: Now what is
this line right here?
- (class exclaiming)
- Right!
Mulkey: As the game
evolved, what changed?
It was television coverage.
(commentator speaking
- Commentator: Good!
- (crowd cheering)
You went from back in our era,
to one game,
or one Final Four a year,
to every night you could
find a basketball game.
At Baylor University,
we value women's basketball.
And as I challenge them
every year,
don't ever take it for granted.
Imagine if, uh, Cheryl Miller
was on TV every night.
I think the biggest thing
came out of that, was, uh,
the younger generation,
the younger crop of young girls,
watching this, being inspired,
um, to play at this level.
"Do I think I could do that?
Do I think I could really do that?"
Commentator: This is a
great shot right there,
because there's the future.
Diana Taurasi.
Commentator: ...into the
lane, leans into (indistinct).
Basket and the foul!
Reggie Miller: We... We've
got, in my opinion,
the three greatest players
ever assembled
in one room tonight,
in Magic Johnson, Michael
Jordan, and Cheryl Miller.
This is...
(crowd applauding)
This is truly special.
- CHERYL MILLER: Come on, what's going
on with you? - WINDHAM: Coach.
- I know. Eh, two and 0.
- Coach. What?
- Two and 0.
- How'd that happen?
- I don't know. It wasn't
the coach. - (laughs)
It had nothing to do
with coaching.
If... You're happy.
Finally. You know what?
I can...
And you and I used to, you know,
we'd talk about this all the time,
I'm finally comfortable
in my skin.
You know?
I don't, I don't
necessarily feel that
I have to be, um,
Cheryl Miller.
And the great thing is,
the majority of the kids,
- they're like, "Where... When
did you play?" - Right. (laughs)
Just Google. Google!
(both laughing)
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