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Teresa Edwards, Usa
USABasketball.com: Beginning her professional career overseas after
graduating in 1986 from the University of Georgia, Edwards had only dreamt of
one day competing as a pro in the United States, of once again playing in front
of her hometown fans who hadn't seen her on the hardwood since her college days.
So in 1995 she returned home with that in mind and to try out for a spot on the 1995-96 USA Women's National Team. Edwards knew that if she were selected, she would finally be able to play in her country, on American soil, in front of American fans. She also knew that it would bring her one huge step closer to perhaps culminating her storied career at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and near her hometown of Cairo, Ga.
In May of 1995, the woman who had contemplated retiring from USA Basketball in 1994, broke down in tears at the press conference announcing the 11 players selected to the historic USA Women's National Team (end ref)
Ibn Notes: In 1988, Teresa Edwards joined the US National Team (along with best friend Katrina McClain, as well as Cynthia Cooper, Anne Donovan, Suzie McConnell, Jennifer Gillom, Cindy Brown, Vicky Bullet, and Teresa Weatherspoon) for the Olympics in Seoul, Korea. From the get-go, the '88 team had one thing on their mind... and it was displayed on their t-shirts: "Sole Goal - Seoul Gold." McClain held down the middle and led the US in scoring and rebounding with averages of 17.6 points and 10.4 rebounds. With Katrina leading the way, the USA brought home the gold medal.
McClain was part of the great 1996 Olympic Women's Basketball Team that was composed of Olympic and professional greats and superstar college players. The team began traveling and competing in late 1995 to prepare for the 1996 Olympics. They arrived in Atlanta in July of 1996 undefeated with a 52-0 record. Each of their Olympic contests sold out and the team rewarded the home crowd with an array of offensive talent. In the eight victories en route to the gold medal, the United States averaged 102.4 points per game as Edwards, Katrina McClain, Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes, and Ruthie Bolton started all eight games - a team that also included Dawn Staley, Jennifer Azzi, Carla McGhee, Venus Lacy, Rebecca Lobo, Nikki McCray, and Katy Steding.
"There are few people in this world I respect more than Teresa Edwards. She was, in many ways, the heart and soul of the league. She and Jennifer Azzi, in my mind, were the two who really stood out. They went way above and beyond the call." -- Gary Cavalli, founder/CEO of the ABL when asked about the role some of players had in the ABL.
Name: Teresa Edwards
Born: July 19, 1964
Origin: Cairo, Georgia
Schools: University of Gerogia
Drafted: Inaugural player/co-founder for the ABL; 2003, WNBA Second Round, 13th overall pick by Minnsota Lynx
Teams (jersey): US National Team (4), Tarbes, Valenciennes Atlanta Glory (ABL #4), Philadelphia Rage (ABL #4), Minnesota Lynx (WNBA #4)
Ibn Notes: If not for the existance of Cheryl Miller, I would contend, without a doubt, that Teresa Edwards may be the most important American women's basketball player ever. If Edwards isn't number one, then she is most certainly is in the top 2-3 on everyone's list, or should be.
"T" as Edwards is known, is the first and only basketball player -- male or female -- to have competed in five Olympics (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000), in which she came away with the gold medal everytime except in 1992 (Barcelona). In total, she competed for the United States 19 times in international competition. Her teams won 14 gold medals. Teresa Edwards is the most decorated Olympic basketball player -- again, male or female -- in the world. She olds U.S. Olympic career records for assists, steals, games played and was named USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year in 1987, 1990 and 1996. In 2.5 seasons with the ABL (before it folded), Edwards led the league in scoring once, named to the All-ABL First Team twice, all-star those same two years, and honored six times as ABL Player of the Week (most honors ever).
After the ABL went bankrupt, Teresa couldn't agree to terms with the WNBA, basically she had an issue with receiving "rookie" pay which she found "disrespectful." (she would have been paid about half her ABL salary and a third of what she was earning overseas)...
"I didn't want to have to say no to the WNBA, but they are asking players to sacrifice salaries for the league. In an era of sponsorship and endorsements, I don't see why we should have to do that. I thought, At my age, I shouldn't have to beg for anything." -- Teresa Edwards about the her feud with the WNBA
Edwards took a few years off. Then in 2003, a 38-year-old Teresa Edwards was selected in the WNBA Draft by her old teammate and new coach, Suzie McConnell-Serio (of whom Teresa is older than). In her hometown of Cairo, Georgia, Edwards has a street named after her. "T is the type of player who can take a team from 15 points down and win the ball game. That's a tough thing to do, but she has the athletic ability, the skills, and more importantly, the heart to do it as she's proven many times." -- Nell Fortner, former USA Coach
|Teresa Edwards Links From our forum: History of the ABL, the American Basketball League, Women's Basketball Forum, WNBA Forum Articles and other resources: The Road to Atlanta (FindArticles), One for the Team (TIME.com, 2000), A League of their Own (Ebony), Five-Time Olympian Teresa Edwards Answers Your Questions (Wnba, 2004), Basketball Legend Leading Lynx (WNBA, 2004), 100 Greatest Female Athletes (SI.com, 2000), Introducing the New 'Player's League' (Washington Post, 1998), One-on-one with Teresa Edwards (LookSmart), One-on-One with Gary Cavalli, co-founder and CEO of the ABL (Women's Hoops Blog, 2004)|