Catching Up With Michelle Edwards
We recently caught up with one of the all-time great pioneers of women's basketball, Michelle "Ice" Edwards. The former Cleveland Rockers and Seattle Storm guard announced her retirement from the WNBA over four years ago, but don't think that means she's been away from the game. The original WNBA player recently brought her basketball knowledge back to the college level where she served as a coach for Rutgers last season and will perform administrative duties for the Scarlet Knights this upcoming season. In her five year WNBA career Edwards averaged 7.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
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ďWell I think first and foremost, itís obviously a business, more than ever. I donít think thatís a bad thing. I think that one of the good things about the foundation of the league is we were overseas where itís a business as well. But when we first came to play in the United States, it seemed like a family thing. Then around the fifth year, or maybe the third year, we got more cutthroat to make teams and be successful. But I think how it can be good for young people today. It teaches them business right from Day One. In college, you do whatever you want. No one is going to bother you, theyíre not going to take your scholarship unless you commit a felony or something like that, so I think that it in a sense, beginning now, you either play, or you lose your job."Q: You played overseas for a bunch of years, where did you play? And then how cool was it to come back here and get to play at home?
ďItaly. How cool was it? It was great. Honestly I had thought of retiring because I was getting tired of packing my bags and heading over for eight months and not having a lot of visitors. Itís lonely, you know, getting older, thinking about doing different things with my life, and then this opportunity arises and I was like, okay, Iím going to hang out and play for a couple of more years."Q: Do you still keep in touch with some of your early teammates? Do you see them around?
ďActually when Rutgers went to play in the Regionals this year out in Cleveland, I met Janice Lawrence Braxton. We were both chosen actually first and second in the Draft, so we keep in touch somewhat. And Neisha Brown, I talked to her a couple of weeks ago, actually we had somewhat of a reunion, in Cleveland in July.ĒQ: At those early training camps and practices, did you talk about being pioneers in your sport? Did you think it would last as long as it has and grow as much as it has?
ďWe talked about it, and I think we believed, at least I believed, that it would be around for a long time. Now how long? I didnít know, but I believe that the fact that the NBA and David Stern believed in the women meant we had a good chance to survive. Especially when you think about the beginning, teams were averaging 10,000 plus fans a game, which is rare for any sport."Q: How are you liking coaching?
ďI coached at Rutgers last year. This year, Iím doing more administrative work. I like it, I have to tell you. You know being on the floor and everything was great, but Iíve always been interested in the other side. You know when I played in the league, I was always trying to network and meet different people. I mean, I love the game within that 90 feet but at the same time I was always thinking about the next move. I know the game. I mean, I played for I donít know how long. So coaching is great, recruiting is okay, but honestly, just the operations side of things is wat I like best. I like how you put something together before it happens, so I love what Iím doing now."Q: Do you still play?
ďI donít play anymore, but Iíve learned to channel that competitive side to other things. Like I said, Iíve never done administrative work before, but here I am, and I love it. My basketball career is what it was. Iím not still trying to live that. Iím trying to move on and accomplish some other things."
: Who are some of your favorite current players?
ďOf course I love to still support the league. Well most of the players I played with arenít playing anymore. But I love the young players... Marie Ferndinand is one, Michelle Snow, of course Tina Thompson... Iím a big fan of hers. Even our players from Rutgers, Chelsea Newton and Cappie Pondexter. I mean she is special, they both are. I love Diana Taurasi, sheís awesome, and Rebekkah Brunson is a very underappreciated player. Thereís no one that I donít like.Ē