Edwige Lawson-Wade has lived 100 lifetimes by her estimation.
As an international basketball star, her experiences playing all over the world — in numerous professional leagues — have provided her with an education no classroom could.
At 16, she decided to sacrifice a traditional life for her dream one on the court — much to her mother’s dismay — and began her pro career in France. Upon reflection, she said there isn’t anything she would do differently.
”I was very driven by my career, and it took over,” Lawson-Wade said.
The WNBA is a small world, and Lawson-Wade’s experience in it is a perfect example of exactly how small.
Sylvia Fowles used to style her hair when they played 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 coached there, too.
Lawson-Wade’s husband, Sky coach and general manager James Wade, began his coaching career in the WNBA with the Stars under the direction of Dan Hughes in 2012. He became an assistant on Cheryl Reeve’s staff with the Minnesota Lynx in 2017, coaching Fowles and Rebekkah Brunson, another of Lawson-Wade’s former teammates.
The web Lawson-Wade’s career has woven is intricate and once again came full circle when a longtime opponent became a member of the Sky in the spring.
”When Candace [Parker] made her decision to sign with the Sky, she asked me to have [my son] Jet make a video letting James know,” Lawson-Wade said.
Lawson-Wade said she was lucky to play on very good teams and against very good teams in her career. The 2008 Los Angeles Sparks were one of those foes.
Parker was a rookie with the Sparks, and Lawson-Wade was a shooter Stars teammate Becky Hammon used to kick the ball out to for three-pointers. In 2008, the teams played in one of the most memorable Western Conference finals matchups in WNBA history.
When Lawson-Wade was at a 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 in a book filled with memories and highlights. She has won three French championships, two Russian championships, three EuroLeague titles and one European championship.
But the most significant, by far, was the Olympic silver medal she helped the French national team earn at the 2012 Summer Games in London. This summer, she was shocked to find Jet rooting for Team USA during the Tokyo Olympics.
Lawson-Wade and Jet spent the last two months in Chicago. But they were heading back this week to France, where Lawson-Wade will embark on a new chapter in her career as a WNBA and international scout.
She also will be pursuing a second degree, to add to her masters in sport management, with the goal of becoming a team consultant in mind. Her husband, in a way, has been her first client.
For Lawson-Wade, watching the WNBA’s growth — with some of her oldest friends, teammates and coaches contributing to that — has been beautiful to see. Another goal of hers is to return to the league as a GM.
Her list of aspirations never has been short.
”She’s shown me the possibilities are limitless if you continue to work and believe,” Wade said.