I guess the most surprising thing about this story is learning that there’s actually a basketball Hall of Fame out there that Tee’s not already a member of. This just in from the UGA Sports Communications Office:
ATHENS, GA. â€” Former Georgia Lady Bulldog Teresa Edwards (pictured), a two-time All-American for the Georgia Lady Bulldogs and the only U.S. basketball player – male or female – to compete in five Olympic Games, is one of a dozen finalists for induction into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2011. The finalists were announced by the Hall of Fame on Friday.
The Class of 2011 will be announced on Monday, April 4 at a news conference in Houston prior to the NCAA’s Men’s Championship game. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2011 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Mass. on Friday, August 12. The complete list of finalists include from the North American Screening Committee: players Maurice Cheeks, Chris Mullin, Dennis Rodman, Ralph Sampson and Jamaal Wilkes; coaches Herb Magee, Dick Motta and Tex Winter; contributor Alvin Attles and referee Hank Nichols. From the Women’s Screening Committee: Teresa Edwards and Tara VanDerveer.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I truly believe Teresa Edwards is the greatest competitor to ever lace up a pair of high tops,” said Georgia head coach Andy Landers. “She is the ‘Wilma Rudolph’ of women’s basketball. Teresa blazed a trail that I’m not sure anyone can or will ever follow. Five Olympic Games? To be one of best, if not the, best players in the world over three decades? I’m not sure we’ll ever see that again.”
Edwards, a native of Cairo, GA, enjoyed a spectacular four-year run that turned Lady Bulldog Basketball into one of the nation’s premier programs. She helped lead Georgia to its first-ever Final Four appearance as a freshman in 1983, to an NCAA runner-up finish in 1985 and to SEC Championships in 1983, 1984 and 1986. The Lady Bulldogs compiled a 116-7 record during Edwards’ four seasons at UGA.
Edwards also began her unparalleled international playing career while still in Athens.
In 1984, the summer following her sophomore year, Edwards was the youngest member of the U.S. team that captured a Gold Medal at the Los Angeles Olympics. She started for virtually every U.S. National Team to enter a major international competition for the rest of the century. She captured additional Gold Medals in 1988, 1996 and 2000, as well as a Bronze in 1992.
In 1996, Edwards was the one competitor among the 10,318 competitors in all sports representing 197 nations at the Centennial Olympic games chosen to read the Athlete’s Oath at the Opening Ceremony.
In 2000, Edwards co-captained the U.S. to the Gold Medal in Sydney, giving her the unique distinction of being both the youngest and the oldest women’s basketball player to earn Olympic Gold.
All told, Edwards played in 216 games representing the United States and compiled some incredible statistics – 2,000 points, 890 assists, 576 rebounds and 372 steals and a career field goal percentage of 50.3 percent. Of a possible 18 medals competing for USA Basketball, Edwards won 14 gold, one silver and three bronze, and the U.S. teams with Edwards on their roster compiled an overall record of 205-14 for an almost unfathomable winning percentage of 93.6 percent.
Edwards enjoyed an extremely successful professional career with stints in Italy, Japan, Spain, France and Russia. She also played a formative role in the development of professional women’s basketball in the U.S. Edwards was on the board of directors of the ABL and served as player/coach of the league’s Atlanta Glory. She wrapped up her playing days in the U.S. with the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx in 2003 and 2004. In 2004, she received the WNBA’s Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.
Edwards has been inducted into six halls of fame. She was a member of the inaugural class for the UGA’s all-sports “Circle of Honor” in 1995 and was inducted to the State of Georgia’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2001, the National High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, the Grady County (GA) Sports Hall of Fame in 2009, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Dominque Wilkins was the first former Georgia Bulldog inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2006. Ironically, Wilkins departed Athens after two seasons in the spring of 1982. That fall, Edwards arrived at UGA to begin her collegiate career.