When the last original member of the Seattle Storm, Simone Edwards, steps away from the floor and retires, there is a moment of sadness.

Only have a moment of sadness because sadness is contrary to everything Simone. Simone is happiness. Simone is energy. Simone is a love of life. Simone is the Simi shimmy.

Special people cross your path and their essence influences who you are. Simone has done that for all of us. It didn’t matter if it was the Tip-Off Breakfast, a season-ticket-holder party, the airport or the locker room - Simone always got the biggest laugh.

She passed a ball to a mascot. No one but Simone could do that. The best part is Simone will remind you she passed to a mascot and laugh.

There was no one giving out bigger hugs than Simone on the night the confetti fell from the rafters and the championship was won. She understood. She had been here in the early days. She felt the fans of Seattle more so than anyone.

It would be wrong to forget Simone’s basketball career on the floor. She took an opportunity and turned it into a six-year WNBA career. The league expanded and her dream gained life. She made the original Storm team that was lacking in talent and then she outlasted everyone from Quacy Barnes to Sonja Henning.

Amazingly, more often than not she performed when called upon. She made the plays that had to be made. The coaches believed that she would be in the right spot at the right time and that they could trust her. It is the best compliment you can give a player.

We will all miss Simone. We all love Simone.

I look at it this way. On every plane flight we ever took Simone would get on, grab two blankets and find her seat. She would promptly take both blankets and drape them over her entire body, head to toe. For the rest of the flight she would stay like that. Yet every time you walked by you would smile and laugh. You couldn’t see Simone, but you knew she was there and you smiled.

Today Simone put the two blankets over her playing career. We should smile and laugh. We won’t be able to see her, but she will always be with us.

- David Locke, Storm play-by-play broadcaster, 5/19/06

We got the word of Simone's retirement about three hours ago. Since then, I have been frantically working on the Web site while at the same time struggling with my emotions about the news. As I compiled photos of Simone's Storm career, I was filled with a mixture of joy and sadness - joy at the memories of all the great times Simone and the Storm have enjoyed, sadness that she will not be making more memories this season.

What I'll remember most of all of Simone is laughing, whether it be at the pass she threw to Doppler - who was not, technically speaking, eligible to receive it - during the 2002 season, or at her wonderful self-deprecating sense of humor. I can only remember one interview ever with Simone during my three seasons plus this training camp of covering her where I did not come away with my day brightened by something she had said.

I will always remember the joy Simone brought to kids and got from working with them. There was no greater thrill for Simone than dancing with children or teaching them or, most importantly of all, giving back to the community - particularly the underprivileged in her native Jamaica, which she so loves. Almost as much as those kids, those of us who had the chance to watch Simone interact with children were better for it.

I will never forget how deeply passionate Simone was about this team and how much she cared about its success. Her interview with the local beat writers when she first arrived at training camp this month was indelible. She shared how she was willing to give up her spot on the roster if it would make the Storm a better team, how her heart would always reside in Seattle and her passion for the game.

I will also never forget interviewing Simone the day after Kamila Vodichkova sprained her foot late in the 2003 season, moving Simone into the starting lineup. It was clearly evident to everyone participating that Simone was deeply troubled by an injury to her good friend and fellow original Storm player, but also nervous that she might let her teammates down in replacing Vodichkova.

Simone, I'm here to tell you that you never let anyone down. You built us up. Your character, your passion, your joy for life - it made things better on a daily basis for everyone associated with the Storm over the last six seasons. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

- Kevin Pelton, storm.wnba.com, 5/19/06

Your turn: Share your thoughts on Simone's retirement and memories of her six seasons in Seattle. E-mail us at stormconnection@sonics-storm.com and we'll post selected responses!

My first Storm experience was at a losing effort to Sacramento back in June 2000. We sat in the section above the Seattle bench. I remember that Simone Edwards was "bringing it" from start to finish. When she wasn't on the court, she was still on her feet, workin' the crowd - as only Simone can. It was great.

I wish the Storm could retire the number. There will never really be another number 4.
- Steven M. O'Kelley, Seattle

It was good to read the articles posted at this site. I am very saddened by Simone's departure but it is good to remember that sadness is not what Simone is about - she always exudes happiness!

My family had been avid Seattle Reign fans. We were still sad that team folded and not sure if we could get attached to this new team. It did not take long (a minute maybe). We first met Lin Dunn and the Storm players on a fluke. We were at the Centerhouse having lunch and the team was there. My daughters posed with players, asked questions and shot basketballs. My husband (not a big basketball fan unless his children are playing) won a foam finger. Simone made jokes about how she got here from Jamaica and was an immediate favorite.

A few days later we went to the inaugural game! Simone was passing out water bottles to the crowd as they entered Key Arena. Many people did not know who she was yet. We were laughing at the thought of people just taking the bottle from her and not knowing she was a Storm player. Our very first thoughts of Simone were laughter even though she did not say a word!

Beyond the laughter that was a great lesson for my daughters. No matter who you are, you aren't too busy or important that you can't meet the crowd and relate on a personal level to the people who admire you. Good bye Simone, you will be greatly missed. Thank you for the life lessons and laughter! Best wishes to you in your future!
- Liz Johnson

Aside from the opening shimmy each game, it was always fantastic to have Simone clapping her hands in the air to get the crowd going at the most opportune times. I have some wonderful photos of her being upbeat and always smiling. ... Sure hope the Storm someday has a reunion for ex-players so we can remind them how much they have meant to us!
- Wendy Cornell

My family and I have appreciated Simone’s contribution to the Storm since the opening season. She recognized the team’s weaknesses yet jumped in with enthusiasm. That first season, she joked with fans at a meet-the-coach event that she (Simone) should be called, “Hurricane.” We have delighted in calling out encouragement to our Hurricane.

Simone connected warmly and spontaneously with our shy little girl, both at Storm games and at special events. She kept in mind how important that connection is, between fans and athletes. WNBA players have been – for the most part – excellent at staying away from the diva role and substituting the idea that, with practice, hard work, coaching, and at least a dose of talent, the girls in the arena seats can do this, too. I would love to see the enormously wealthy NBA reward more generously the women athletes of the WNBA for showing us the way, in this regard. Unlike too many of the men players, the WNBA players like Simone give it their all.

Simone is an amazingly talented athlete. Despite starting basketball quite late compared with players like most of her teammates, she was able to produce in basketball at a professional level for a long time. I’ll miss watching her surprise us.
- Margie Cashman

I find myself very emotional coming to the realization that Simone will no longer grace us with her presence. In my eyes she has been the glue of our Seattle Storm. As a fan I can't help but feel that we need her. We need her to be there, down on the hardwood, throwing her hands up in the air and reminding us what we are there to cheer for. She has always been the medium between the stands and the court. She dances to the music and stomps to the beat the same as we do. She reminds us that we are cheering for real people. She reminds us to get on our feet and make some noise so our Storm remembers we're behind them every step of the way.

If a skeptic were to be at one game with Simone, she would pull them into believing. Because when it comes to Simone, seeing is believing. It is easily seen that she loves her team. I think that Simone is the Seattle Storm's biggest fan and she probably always will be. She is irreplaceable. Although saddened that she is leaving I'm so happy she won her championship ring and wish her the best in whatever she does. We Love You Simi Shimmy!
- Mary Jensen

I traveled to Jamaica in the summer of 1991 and signed 17-year-old Simone Edwards to a basketball scholarship to attend Seminole Junior College in Seminole, Oklahoma. Although Simone had little experience playing basketball when she arrived on campus, she worked hard and had the natural talent to become a Second Team All-American her freshmen year. In her sophomore season, she was named First Team NJCAA All-American and she was also named as the first Kodak All-American in our school's history that season. Last spring Simone was elected to Seminole State College's Hall of Fame.

I am so proud of Simone. Sixteen years ago I knew I had a special athlete, but I did not know she would accomplish all that she has. Most of all she is a beautiful human being that has made many people's lives more fulfilling because they have known her.
- Brad Walck, Seminole State College, Simone's junior college coach

I read the Simone scrapbook and wanted to say that what I remember about Simone is at every home game I have attended, she would run out and do a running chest-thump with Doppler during player introductions. That was just her style and it added energy to every game. It says a lot about her feelings toward the Storm and the city of Seattle that she chose to retire rather than play on any other team, most of which she could make their roster. I wish her the best in her post-Storm life.
- Kevin Kruse

It's a rainy morning today in Seattle. Nothing unusual about that but I feel just a little melancholy and, of course, I know the reason. Simone's officially left the Storm's roster. With her leaving the Storm have lost something very rare and while I'm very happy that she'll be able to start the next stage of her life, I already miss her energy her smile and her grace.

The WNBA is growing up. Players are becoming faster, more skilled and more competitive. Crowds are getting larger and players are gaining more fame. This is wonderful as it makes the league a more exciting place for players and fans alike but I also miss the young WNBA. The WNBA that was looking for identity and trying new things to bring in fans. The WNBA where coaches dribbled balls down the streets of Seattle inviting people to a game. The WNBA where, at the end of a season with an awful record, players stayed long after the final buzzer to throw t-shirts, jerseys and even their shoes to an adoring the crowd that stayed regardless of the final score. The WNBA that Simone lived in.

At the game last night, I was privileged to receive one last signature and a parting hug from my favorite player. We briefly recalled the signing parties where she stayed late so that everyone in her line was able to get a picture, an autograph and a hug. We talked about her mom and her first few years with the Storm and as I walked to my seat, I heard someone ask "Is that the player that's retiring?" and was struck by the realization that a new generation of fans are coming to the game. At the same time I felt a little sorry for that person. I felt sorry that she wouldn't know Simone's wonderful spirit and her love of the game and it's fans.

I'm excited for the upcoming Storm season as I always am. I feel connected to many of the players who share their own unique qualities with the team and it's fans but I just can't help feeling a little saddened. The WNBA has lost something very precious in the retirement of the Jamaican Hurricane but because of the way she touched her fans, she'll always have a home in Seattle.
- Kevin Crow

As a "Founding Fan," I have been blessed to witness Simone's career as a Storm original. From the 6-26 season to the Championship season, Simone has been the constant. Simone was never about the statistics, she was about the team and the fans, both of which had an unparalleled love and appreciation for her.

Simone brought an energy and aura to this team that is difficult to describe, yet anyone who reads this and loves Simone, will understand immediately. Her smile could light up Key Arena, her hugs encompass the city of Seattle, and the enthusiasm with which she worked and played would bring joy to all. The only time a person could walk away from Simone depressed would have been on Tuesday, May 23, 2006, bidding her farewell.

Simone keeps telling us that she is blessed. No Simi, it is we the fans who are blessed.
- CJ Webb

I'm just an average Storm fan - which, for any who don't know, means that I am rabidly enthusiastic about the team. I don't know any of the players personally, but as a Storm fan I feel like I do. And at the top of the list of those players is Simone Edwards. I didn't expect to be as emotional as I find myself being about her departure!

The highlight of the introductions is always the Simi Shimmy with Doppler. Simi is like the average person's connection with the team, because we always knew she was like us - okay, about 1000 times better at basketball than us, but still like us: having fun and enjoying the game and her teammates. Sure, the others do that, too, but Simi has done so longer, and so openly and exuberantly that we've noticed and resonated with her.

It's the end of an era for Storm basketball fans like me. We'll miss you, Simone!
- Kari Brodin

I will always remember Simone as having the most wonderful personality of any student I have ever taught. She came to Seminole Oklahoma State College to play basketball. Not only was she a good player, but she became one of the most popular students on campus. In fact, we just inducted her into our Hall of Fame.

Her warm and friendly smile and laughter drew fans to the games. Little kids and senior citizens alike were her fans. Basketball needs more people like Simone. She will always be in our hearts here at Seminole State College.

It is sad to see her career end, but I know she will be successful at whatever the future holds for her. She has a passion for life that many can model.
- James W. McAlvain, Seminole State College

It is with so much pride that I see what Simone has done in her six seasons with the Storm. Her love and passion for the game of basketball has been a pleasure to watch. I grew up watching Simone play "Netball," a game near and dear to any Jamaican's heart.

Simone brought basketball to Jamaica in a really way ... one of her may achievements. Though she may be walking away from the WNBA, I cant imagine her very far away.
- Georgette Miller, Simone's cousin

I am a Portuguese coach that had the pleasure to coach Simi this past season in Perfumerias Avenida (Spain) where she helped us to win the Spanish Copa de la Reina. Everything I was reading on her scrapbook made me remember similar things of Simone with us. ...

Simone, you deserve all the best. You are a good friend, a good person and it is true that to be around you is to be happy.
- Coach Joăo Pedro