Teresa Edwards life and biography

Teresa Edwards picture, image, poster

Teresa Edwards biography

Date of birth : 1964-07-19
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Cairo, Georgia, United States
Nationality : American
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2010-07-07
Credited as : Basketball player WNBA, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame,

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Teresa Edwards, born July 19, 1964 in Cairo, Georgia, United States is an American basketball player.

Teresa Edwards stands as living proof that women can be as long-lasting and successful in professional basketball as men. Edwards made her first Olympic appearance as a basketball player in 1984 as part of a gold medal-winning U.S. team in Los Angeles. She won another Olympic gold medal for basketball at Seoul in 1988, and she added a bronze medal at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. The Georgia native will make a record-breaking fourth Olympic appearance in the 1996 Summer Games, performing in her home state in front of a family that has supported her dreams for years. Regarded as one of the best female basketball players in the world--"the Michael Jordan of women's basketball"--Edwards brings vast experience and quality leadership to the U.S. women's basketball team.

Born in 1964 in Cairo, Georgia, Teresa Edwards grew up in a single-parent family, with four brothers. Her mother, Mildred Edwards, gave up her own dreams of becoming a nurse to support her large family, and she had some decided views on women playing sports. Try as she might, however, Mildred could not drag Teresa away from the sandlot baseball, football, and basketball games she enjoyed playing with the local boys. When her brothers shot hoops through an old bicycle rim nailed to a pine tree, Teresa joined in as well. No one in Cairo ever expected that Teresa would become one of the nation's most famous women's basketball players, however--the sport was just a favorite hobby for an active girl.

Edwards made her debut in a structured basketball program as a seventh grader at her local public school. She kept her participation on the team a secret from her mother as long as she could. "She kept coming home late from school and laying it off on some teacher," Mildred Edwards recalled in Sports Illustrated. "Then one day she said, 'I need a new pair of sneakers because I made the team.' I said, 'Girl, you can't play basketball.' And Teresa said, 'Mama, I made the team.'"

It was only the first of many teams Teresa Edwards would make in her spectacular basketball career. After being a high school All-American, she attended the University of Georgia on an athletic scholarship, where she was named a consensus All-American in 1985 and 1986 as a junior and a senior. Leaving college before she finished her degree requirements, Edwards found work playing professional basketball in Italy and Japan. By the early 1990s she was earning better than $200,000 a year as a starter for the Nagoya, Japan, team sponsored by Mitsubishi. The long seasons overseas proved difficult, though. Edwards did not have the time to master the foreign languages of her host countries, and she was lonely and homesick.

The opportunity to play basketball for an American team was always welcome. Edwards first made the U.S. Olympic team while still a college student in 1984. She qualified again in 1988 and again in 1992. Her long history with the U.S. national team has included victories and setbacks, which she as the senior member of the squad has been uniquely positioned to understand. Edwards was part of Olympic basketball teams that won gold medals in 1984 and 1988. She was a member of a hastily assembled U.S. team that performed disappointingly in Barcelona, with a sound defeat by the former Soviet Union team. Now she is a member of a fully subsidized U.S. women's team that has been playing together for more than a year in anticipation of the 1996 Summer Games.

Her close friends describe Edwards as a genuine and easygoing person who has never let her six-figure salary dictate her lifestyle. She is not a fancy dresser, and when she does spend money, she tends to lavish it upon family members. Her mother is living in a house bought by Edwards, and her younger brothers receive help with their college tuition. Theresa Grentz, the coach of the 1992 U.S. Olympic women's basketball team, told Sports Illustrated of Edwards: "She can't be bought. Values are important to her. Her humility and her simplicity of life make her very special to be around."

In 1989 Edwards finished the requirements she needed to earn her bachelor's degree in recreation. When she is not traveling, she still makes her home near Cairo, Georgia. The citizens there honored her not too long ago by renaming the street on which she lived as a child. Now, when she visits the old family home, she drives down Teresa Edwards Street.

The future looks bright for Edwards as well. When she is finished working with the U.S. women's team in 1996, she expects to be one of the first women players chosen for a planned American women's professional basketball league. Edwards's longevity in basketball rivals any of her male counterparts--she is enjoying the game as much as ever and shows few signs of slowing down. The five-foot-eleven guard is set to make history as the first American to play basketball in four consecutive Olympics. Then she may turn around and make history again, as one of the first American women pros.

September 25, 2004: Edwards won the Women's National Basketball Association's Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.
On July 1, 2009: Edwards was chosen for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.


CAREER

Won gold medal as part of U.S. team, 1984 Olympic Games, Los Angeles, California; named a consensus All-American in 1985 and 1986; won gold medal as part of U.S. team, 1988 Olympic Games, Seoul, South Korea; won bronze medal as part of U.S. team, 1992 Olympic Games, Barcelona, Spain; played professional basketball in Italy and Japan.

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