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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

May 27, 2006 at 5:26 PM

Surprise visit

Former Storm center Simone Edwards dropped by the training facility on Saturday. She was there to pick up some basketballs to give to kids in her native Jamaica and wrap up some paperwork after retiring on May 20.
Edwards, 32, will return to Florida on Monday to spend a short stint in her new five-bedroom home before leaving on June 5 for Jamaica to play in the Caribbean Basketball Championships. She said the week prior to Tuesday’s retirement ceremony at KeyArena was the hardest.
“When I would cry, it was for the fans,” she said in a rare somber moment when she wasn’t trying to make someone laugh. “Some of the kids I’ve known since they were in the womb. I’m only going to miss the home games because of the fans. The rest … my age is going down every day [from not playing].”
Edwards teased that she was 82 when she arrived to training camp.
Aside from representing her country, Edwards said she’s going to work to develop more Jamaicans to replace her in the WNBA. She was previously the only one, doing several radio and television interviews with her hometown media once she left the league.
Edwards is also still focusing on helping impoverished areas in Washington, Florida and Jamaica, being most surprised at some of the neighborhoods she’s seen in Florida while on “ride alongs” with police officers, who are also friends.
“I didn’t know Americans could be so poor,” she said. “I thought it was only in Jamaica.”
Edwards will continue to collect donations for children through her foundation and can be reached on the web at www.simone4children.org.
Bird call
Got a call from Nancy Bird, Sue’s mother, on Saturday afternoon. She’s had thoughts about attention paid to WNBA player’s sexuality on the heels of ESPN2 running a segment during the Storm’s loss against Houston about Sheryl Swoopes coming out and having a relationship with her then-assistant coach.
“What does it have to do with basketball?” Bird asked rhetorically. “It’s not the forum. Sexuality has nothing to do with anything we do in life. It should be about spirituality and what we do as people.”
Bird said she is a spiritual person who cares more about the person and how they treat others. She would like the attention to stay focused on what the players do in their communities, from breast cancer awareness to founding charities, etc. Oh, and whether they can actually play basketball.
“Sheryl loves Alisa [Scott] and I’m happy for her, but when you put the relationship in front of everything else, it’s gossip and it’s none of anybody’s business,” Bird said. “It’s just a relationship. When you become known, everybody wants to know the personal things and they should care more about the person and how they are as a human being.”
Unlike Bird, I do think the WNBA needs to let go of its secrecy regarding homosexuality if a player, like Swoopes, wants to be “out,” — especially since all sports leagues have moved into covering the personal lives of their players, even doing mega features on their families. But I agree with Bird that it has nothing to do with basketball or whether a player can ball. The topic shouldn’t be during a game because it has nothing to do with the action on the court.
Anyway, you can read more about the topic in Sunday’s newspaper.

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