2011 Naismith Hall-of-Fame Inductee - Teresa Edwards
Edwards is USA Basketballís first and only American basketball player (male or female) to compete in five Olympics where she has won four golds and one bronze medal. She earned the distinct honor of being the youngest recipient of a womenís Olympic gold medal in 1984 and the oldest gold medalist in 2001. Team USA has compiled a record of 205-14 with Edwards on the roster. She was named the USA Basketball Player of the Year in 1987, 1990, 1996 and 2000 and was inducted into the Womenís Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. She currently serves on the USA Basketball Board of Directors and the Womenís Basketball Hall of Fame Board.
Edwards joined the Shock in November 2010 as their Director of Player Personnel.
On April 4, 2011, Edwards participated in a national media conference call, below is the transcript:
Coach Andy Landers. University of Georgia Womenís Basketball Head Coach
Opening Statement: ďAll of us associate with the university, the athletic department and womenís basketball are thrilled but not surprised. This isnít like opening a Christmas present on Christmas morning all wrapped up under the tree. You knew what you were getting before you opened it. Sheís done everything as an athlete and a basketball player. Sheís the greatest competitor to ever lace up a pair of high tops and sheís been doing it for 20 years. There isnít anyone whoís done it on as many levels as she has. The only question any of us had is when is this going to happen and could it even go past one opportunity. There isnít another womenís basketball player whoís accomplished what sheís done. She has led teams and helped teams accomplish great things. Basketball is a team sport and Teresa is very much a team player. I know it has thrilled her to be a part of all those gold medal teams and to represent the united states at the highest levels
What is Coachís earliest Memory of her? I remember very clearly my introductions to her when she played in high school. She was as skinny as a rail, but she was a terrific athlete. At a young age she knew what to do with her athleticism. At that point she wasnít an accomplished basketball player but she was a terrific athlete who knew how to use her athletic ability. I remember her going baseline and doing a reverse layup to win the state championship against bigger taller players. When she got to Georgia she was one of those people who wanted to know how good she could be and was willing to do whatever it took to get there.
How often do you see that drive and ability coming from a player from a small school? I often use that as an example when I speak. It doesnít matter where you come from. It doesnít matter what your last name or first name is. Itís all about your desire. You donít run across people like Teresa Edwards very often. Theyíre rare. Other people who have coached her would tell you the same thing. With her it was about competing. With her it was about winning. Never taking a shortcut or a cheap shot to win, but competing to win. As a player we often times would argue after a game beause the media would want to talk with her and she didnít have an interest in that. Every kid wants to be quoted, every kid wants their picture in the paper, but not her. All she ever wanted to do took place between the lines. When the game was over she just wanted to go back to her dormroom and move on to the next game.
How did those character qualities affected her throughout here career? All sheís done is win. The more of that she got, the more she wanted and it just snowballed. She has this appetite for success and to win and compete like no other. Itís crazy what all sheís done and how successful she was as a player. As sheís finished her playing career we talk all the time. And when weíre in season she comes and watches us play. As sheís finished playing sheís taken a keen interest in how weíre doing and if weíre winning. And if we win a big game, all games are big games but games that others think are big, sheís the first text I get. And if we lose a game thatís disappointing sheís the first text I get. Sheís taken a keen and passionate interest in how weíre doing and how weíre competing. Thatís what sheíll bring to the table in Tulsa as well. There isnít some pleasantville between winning and losing. There isnít some place there that sheíll want to be.
Teresa Edwards Opening statement: It is very exciting. I feel like a little girl that gets to play with all the big boys again. My career started with me begging to play to being one of the first chosen. I was always at the park trying to play with the guys, and Iíve spent most of my career playing with the guys. This time around I get to share the spotlight with all the big boys. Itís a basketball heaven for me.
Is this the pinnacle for your career? This is it. This is the best it gets. All of them feel very special, but nothing like this. Youíre talking Naismith here. Between Naismith and myself he created the love of my life. I think this is the most prestigous honor I could imagine having. For me to sum it up now would be an injustice to this all.
Have you been to HOF yet? Iíve never been. Itís going to be a unique experience. This is par for the course cause I love the unique experience of something new. And this gets to be my first experience with the Hall of Fame. I feel like a kid in a candy store.
Did you think Springfield would be a place youíd never get to go? If I thought of Springfield when I was playing I never would have gotten there. I think I look like a feverish pitch when I play, I was so focused. With that type of focus I never would have ever made it this far thinking about trying to get there. I never would have made it.
Considering where you came from, how humbling is this? Everybody already told me that I would be there so I think I didnít want to disappoint them the most. Iíve always had humbling beginnings. I like to think Iím still that way. I take it with a grain of salt; I just try to engulf the moment. Iím one of those people that just try to live in the moment.
What are some of your earliest memories? I remember playing in a trash can before I got to a rim on a tree. I remember being outside every time I saw Dr. J doing something on TV. I remember the first time I was able to sneak out of the house and get to the park to play with the guys. I can remember everything quite clear. I can remember the first time I touched the rim.
What do you think of the progression of the womenís game how it impacts the game? The prestige of the Hall speaks for itself. And the fact that the growth of the game has grown so fast. With this introduction ceremony Iím not sure if two females have gone in at the same time before. The role in which women play and where we come from is an opportunity for that to shine. And to show where the womanís game has come from. I donít see myself as history yet although young people are always reminding me of that. Iím very happy to see the many changes that have taken place in my lifetime, and to have been a part of many of those changes. And itís amazing to be part of that growth and where the game is going.
How do you think this will affect how the Shock players think of you? I donít know how they looked at me yesterday so I donít know how they look at me today. I really hope I can earn their respect as a coach. It probably brings more pressure to what theyíre going to expect from me as a coach. You never know, this is a different generation of kids. They didnít come from the building process that we went through to get this built here in the states. They came in with the game already here. Itís just a different generation and I know that.
On Coach Landers He was one of the first ones I called when I got the news. Heís been so pivotal to everything Iíve done on the court. There are so many things in my life that I owe him gratitude for. I would probably have him on the very top if my mother wouldnít slap me for saying it. There are so many things he taught me in four years. I just canít thank him enough. I really hope the hall will make an exception and let him speak on my behalf. When I called him on Monday to let him know I told him that this is the one time I need you to stand up and do your thing cause youíre talking about a man Iíve learned a lot of wisdom from. I owe Coach everything.
How hard to keep this news under wraps when you first heard? It was tough cause I was so excited. You want to keep it going, you want to do whatever you got to do to be able to share it with everyone. I just had to share it with those most important to me right away. This just means so much to me.