In case you missed it, Teresa Edwards, the legendary Georgia basketball player and Olympic gold medaliist was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night in Springfield, Mass.
Edwards will go down in history as one of the greatest women’s basketball players of all time. She’s the only American basketball player to have represented her country in teh Olympics five times. Of course, she was an All-American at Georgia and led coach Andy Landers’ Bulldogs to three SEC championships and two Final Fours, including a runner-up finish in 1985.
Mike “Jiggs” Mobley of the UGA Sports Communiations office — a legendary figure himself — accompanied Edwards, Landers and a UGA entourage of dignitaries to Springfield for Friday’s ceremonies. Following is his account of the night.
Congratulations Teresa. . . .
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Teresa Edwards delivered a heart-felt and emotional induction speech to celebrate her inclusion into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night.
Upon taking the stage at Springfield’s Symphony Hall, Edwards immediately spoke to Andy Landers, her coach and mentor at the University of Georgia.
“OK, Coach Landers….I’m nervous now,” Edwards joked. “I never knew I could be here. I’m beginning to feel the prestige of the moment.”
Edwards went on to thank numerous influences.
“Tonight is about the Hall of Fame,” Edwards said. “It’s about all the women who played before I came. It’s about Lucia Harris. It’s about Lynette Woodard. It’s about the All-American Red Heads. It’s about the women who played 3-on-3 in skirts. It’s about all who played who we’ll never know their names.”
Edwards then talked about watching Julius “Dr. J” Irving and attempting to emulate his abilities on a “basketball goal” consisting of a bicycle tire nailed to a pine tree and Michael Jordan, who she called him the greatest player ever.
She then thanked her mother, Mildred, for the sacrifices she made and told the crowd that making her mother proud is what drove her the most throughout her career.
“After tonight, I’m forever changed because you recognized my name with my game,” Edwards said. “For Coach…the University of Georgia…for everyone from Cairo…we’re in the Hall of Fame, baby.”
Edwards led Cairo High School’s Syrupmaids to a state championship before helping Lady Bulldog Basketball ascend among the nation’s premier programs from 1983-86.
Edwards became a three-time All-American for Georgia, including consensus first-team honors in 1985 and 1986. She helped the Lady Bulldogs compile a 116-17 record, capture the 1983, 1984 and 1986 SEC Championships, reach the 1983 Final Four and finish as 1985 NCAA runner-up.
The summer after her sophomore year in Athens, Edwards was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team that won the Gold Medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. She went on to become the only American basketball player to participate in five Olympics, winning additional Gold in 1988, 1996 and 2000 as well as a Bronze Medal in 1992.
Ranked No. 22 overall among Sports Illustrated’s 100 greatest sportswomen of the 20th century, Edwards has now been inducted into seven halls of fame. Previously, she was inducted into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the U.S. National High School Sports Hall of Fame, the UGA Athletic Association’s Circle of Honor, the Grady County (Ga.) Hall of Fame, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.