Basketball world loses a true champion in Margo Dydek

Basketball world loses a true champion in Margo Dydek

Former WNBA player and Polish National Margo Dydek passed away on the morning of Friday, 27 May, after suffering a heart attack in Brisbane last week.

Rushed to hospital, Dydek was placed in a medically induced coma, and despite some positive signs earlier in the week, she never regained consciousness. She was 37.

Tributes for Dydek immediately flooded in for the superstar centre, who was living in Queensland and serving as the head coach of the Northside Wizards in the Queensland Basketball League.  

The Wizards posted the following statement on their website Friday:

"Always in our hearts - Margo," it said. "With great sadness we acknowledge the passing of ... Margo Dydek. Margo suffered a heart attack just over a week ago and passed away Friday 27th May, peacefully and surrounded by her family.

"You were a much-loved member of our community and we will miss you greatly. Our hearts go out to your family, David and your beautiful boys xx."

Tina Thompson, a former teammate of Dydek's at the LA Sparks, said on the WNBA's Twitter feed: "My condolences to the family of Margo Dydek, may she rest in peace!"

Born in Warsaw, Poland, Dydek went on to become the all-time leader in blocked shots in the WNBA, with 877 in 323 games. She led the league in blocks nine times, from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2005-07.

Drafted  number one pick in the 1998 WNBA draft by the Utah Starzz, she went on to play for San Antonio, Connecticut and Los Angeles.

Jayco Australian Opals playmaker and ex-WNBA player Kristi Harrower described Dydek as a world-class player who had the size and aggression of a quality centre, with the hands of a point guard.

“For somebody that was so big – I think she was 7’2” – she had an unbelievable shot,” said Harrower. “Probably not the range of a Jenny Whittle but she had a nice touch and a nice smooth shot. She had great hands – she was an unbelievable passer for a big girl. Great look away passes, and in that way, she was like a point guard.”  

“She was somebody who was world class, she really was. For how big she was, she was mobile and just a great player on the world stage,” said Harrower.

“I think she was well respected by everybody. And I think off the court she was a down to earth nice person – somebody who got along with everybody. She wasn’t high maintenance or anything like that. She just played the game that she loved and she got to play it all around the world,” said Harrower.

She is survived by her husband, David, and two sons, David, 3, and Alex, seven months.