Edwige Lawson-Wade’s mark on the WNBA runs deep, and it’s not finished yet
Edwige Lawson-Wade has lived 100 lives by his estimate.
As an international basketball star, his experiences playing all over the world – in many professional leagues – provided him with an education that no classroom could offer.
At 16, she decided to sacrifice a traditional life for her dream on the court – much to her mother’s dismay – and began her professional career in France. After some thought, she said there was nothing she would do differently.
“I was very motivated by my career and it took over,” said Lawson-Wade.
The WNBA is a small world, and Lawson-Wade’s experience is a perfect example of its size.
Sylvia Fowles combed her hair when playing for Spartak in Russia. Diana Taurasi was there too. Taurasi’s coach with the Phoenix Mercury, Sandy Brondello, coached Lawson-Wade with the San Antonio Stars. Brondello’s husband and current Sky assistant Olaf Lange also trained there.
Lawson-Wade’s husband, Sky coach and general manager James Wade, began his coaching career in the WNBA with the Stars under Dan Hughes in 2012. He became Cheryl Reeve’s staff assistant with the Minnesota Lynx in 2017, coaching Fowles and Rebekkah Brunson, another former Lawson-Wade teammate.
The web that Lawson-Wade’s career has woven is intricate, and came full circle again when a longtime opponent joined Sky in the spring.
When Candace [Parker] made her decision to sign with Heaven, she asked me to have [my son] Jet made a video to let James know, ”Lawson-Wade said.
Lawson-Wade said she has been fortunate enough to play in very good teams and against very good teams during her career. The 2008 Los Angeles Sparks were one of those enemies.
Parker was a rookie with the Sparks, and Lawson-Wade was a teammate Becky Hammon shooter used to throw the ball for three points. In 2008, the teams played in one of the most memorable Western Conference Finals in WNBA history.
When Lawson-Wade was at Sky practice earlier this season, Parker brought it up.
“She took me out of the playoffs in 2008,” Parker said.
Lawson-Wade’s chapter with the stars is just one chapter in a book filled with memories and highlights. She won three French championships, two Russian championships, three EuroLeague titles and one European championship.
But by far the most important was the Olympic silver medal which she helped the France team to win at the 2012 Summer Games in London. This summer, she was shocked to find Jet rooted for the U.S. team at the Tokyo Olympics.
Lawson-Wade and Jet have spent the past two months in Chicago. But they were returning this week to France, where Lawson-Wade will begin a new chapter in her career as a WNBA and international scout.
She will also pursue a second degree, to add to her Masters in Sports Management, with the aim of becoming a team consultant. Her husband, in a way, was her first client.
For Lawson-Wade, watching the growth of the WNBA – with some of his oldest friends, teammates and coaches contributing to it – has been magnificent to watch. Another of his goals is to return to the league as general manager.
His list of aspirations has never been short.
“She showed me that the possibilities are endless if you keep working and believing,” Wade said.