Basketball legend Teresa Edwards is reliving the glory day of the gold-medal-winning 1996 USA Olympic basketball team.
The five-time Olympian and four-time gold medalist says the 1996 squad made a mark, standing out across all her Olympic teams.
“If I could do it again, I would do it again,” Edwards tells former teammate Dawn Staley on the NetLife podcast. “I cannot think of a team, without thinking about the ’96 team.”
While the team may not physically be together anymore, Edwards says the group lives on through Staley’s South Carolina Gamecocks, with the ‘96ers frequently tuning into her games.
“I can feel you in the presence of the ’96 team when I watch you coach,” Edwards says.
Like many of her 1996 teammates, including Sheryl Swoopes, Edwards considered quitting the squad, alluding to coach Tara VanDerveer’s tough coaching style.
“You said some things that I wish I could say to Tara,” Edwards tells Staley, revealing that her USA teammate was much more direct with their then-coach.
Though practices could be tough, they also serve as Edwards’ favorite Team USA memory.
“My fondest memories, because I am so competitive, was our practices,” says Edwards. “Once we got on that court, especially past the warm-up nuances, and started scrimmaging… it was on.”
The team’s natural chemistry stemmed from a profound mutual respect and admiration for basketball. “I think the individuality was respected from the onset and the passion for the game came together so quick,” reveals Edwards. “Our true love for what we do was very apparent.”
Staley agrees, remarking, “We actually respected each other and our space.”
Listen to the full conversation between Edwards and Staley on the latest NetLife for more on their Team USA days, including Staley’s propensity to cheat at cards.