Małgorzata Dydek (28 April 1974 – 27 May 2011), known as Margo Dydek in the United States, was a Polish international professional basketball player. Standing 7'1" tall, she was famous for being the tallest active professional female basketball player in the world. She played center position for the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA and was a coach for the Northside Wizards in the Queensland Basketball League. The WNBA leading career shot blocker, died on Friday, May 27, 2011, in Brisbane, Australia.
Dydek made her first trip to the United States in May 1998 for WNBA pre-draft camp. Dydek was drafted 1st overall in the 1998 WNBA Draft by the Utah Starzz (the franchise was subsequently transferred to San Antonio).
On April 16, 2005, during the 2005 WNBA Draft, the San Antonio Silver Stars traded Dydek to the Connecticut Sun in exchange for the Sun's first-round draft pick, Katie Feenstra from Liberty University. On August 27, 2008 Dydek signed with the Los Angeles Sparks following time away from basketball due to her pregnancy (she gave birth to a son in April 2008).
- Most blocks in a WNBA career, with 877 blocks in 323 games.
- Led the WNBA in blocks 9 times (1998–2003, 2005–07)
- Led the WNBA in blocks/game 8 times (1998–2003, 2006–07)
- Led the WNBA in Defensive Rebounds (214) in 2001
Dydek played for Olimpia Poznań from 1992 to 1994, before playing for Valenciennes Orchies in France from 1994 to 1996. She then moved to Spain and played for Pool Getafe from 1996 to 1998, and moved back to Poland to play for Fota Porta Gdynia starting with the 1998-99 season. She continued to play with the club through several sponsorship changes; since then, the club has taken the names Polpharma and Lotos.
In 1999-2001, she averaged 18.5 points and 10.7 rebounds for Gdynia in FIBA Euroleague play. She was named Most Valuable Player of the Polish League Finals of the 1999-2000 season. In 1999 she was also named the best female basketball player in Europe by the Italian sports magazine La Gazzetta dello Sport. Dydek was chosen as Poland's Sports Woman of the Year and has long been a member of the Polish National Team. She helped lead Gdynia to runner-up finishes in the FIBA Euro-league in 2002 and 2004.
On May 19, 2011, Dydek, at the time pregnant with her third child, suffered a severe heart attack and was placed in a medically induced coma at a Brisbane hospital. She had been working as a coach for the Northside Wizards in the Queensland Basketball League. Dydek collapsed at her home in Brisbane and was taken by ambulance to a hospital. She never regained consciousness and died eight days later on May 27, 2011. As Dydek was early in her pregnancy, the fetus also died. Prior to her death, she was the last surviving prominent Polish woman basketball player.
- Margalit Fox (May 27, 2011). "Margo Dydek, Towering Women’s Basketball Center, Dies at 37". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/28/sports/margo-dydek-37-towering-womens-basketball-center.html?ref=deathsobituaries.
- Dydek signs with Sparks
- "Margo Dydek suffers heart attack". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/wnba/news/story?id=6568363.
- Margo Dydek, 7-Foot-2 Ex-WNBA Player, Dies At 37
- Photo Gallery - Photos featuring Malgorzata Dydek