Corsley Edwards has achieved the dream.
Despite playing at little-known Central Connecticut State University, the Baltimore native and Lake Clifton alum was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the 58th pick of the 2002 NBA Draft. After playing in what is now known as the G-League and overseas in Italy, Edwards reached the pinnacle of basketball: playing for the New Orleans Hornets (now known as the Pelicans) during the 2004-05 season.
Unfortunately for Edwards, that would be his only season in the NBA. Throughout the next decade, his career would take him back to the G League, then to Turkey, then to Spain, then back to the G-League, then back to Turkey, then back to multiple teams in Spain, then on to Puerto Rico, then to the United Arab Emirates, then to China, then back to the UAE, then back to China, then back to the G-League, then to Egypt, then back to Puerto Rico, then to Croatia, then to Poland, then to Bosnia and Herzegovina, then to Lebanon and finally back to Turkey. Then he spent a few years coaching in the NBA and G-League.
Yeah, that's all real. He has the most interesting
section in Wikipedia history.
Thirteen years after he last played in the NBA, Edwards will be playing high-level basketball on national TV again this summer. After a strong performance at their Combine, Edwards signed on with the BIG3 for its second season (kicking off June 22). The league will air its games live this season on Friday nights on Fox Sports 1. Edwards is playing for the "Ball Hogs," coached by basketball Hall of Famer Rick Barry and featuring fellow NBA veterans like Josh Childress, Brian "The White Mamba" Scalabrine and DeShawn Stevenson.
Edwards spoke to PressBox about his incredible basketball journey and returning to the court to be part of the exciting three-on-three league.
What does this opportunity mean to you -- 13 years after you last played in the NBA, you're back playing basketball every week on national television?
Corsley Edwards: Pretty much just that I had something left in my tank. I pretty much exhausted all of my [chances], going all over the world and playing in the NBA and all that stuff. Last year I sat down and watched TV and watched the BIG3 and I was like, "Oh, I could do that." The guys were my age and stuff like that, so the opportunity was there. I went on and gave it a shot and it ended up working out for me.
Can you put into words what these last 13 years have been like from the last time you played in the NBA to now returning to play in the BIG3?
CE: It's had its ups and downs. From picking up a different culture to just enjoying the game and realizing that it's not just all about the game; it's all about building relationships with certain people. That gave me the opportunity to come out here and do that. Everywhere I went, my main thing was not burning any bridges. Make sure you keep contact with people, make sure you be a nice guy in the room at all times. … I know what I can do on the floor, it's just like after the floor, I want to make sure that everybody remembers me and how I am.
Where was the coolest place that basketball took you?
CE: Dubai. Dubai was one of the most extravagant places I've ever been in my life. I call it grown persons' Disney World. Everything that you possibly can imagine is there. I remember one day going to the beach early in the day and then later on going skiing later at night in the mall. Who does that?
What was the place that you disliked so much you wouldn't return to no matter how much money they offered you?
CE: China. China's a little rough. I don't want to start any political stuff but China … it's a special place. You have to be able to accept a lot of different cultures to live in China.
Is coaching something you can see yourself going back to after the BIG3 and continuing to do maybe for the rest of your life?
CE: Oh for sure. I coach my son (11-year-old Corsley III). My son is the next me. And I want to make sure he has that great mindset and be able to adjust the way that I adjusted growing up, coming from Baltimore … he plays for "Team Thrill," Lake Clifton alumni Will Barton['s AAU team]. We hung out with him the other day. He met Will when I was coaching for the Denver Nuggets. We played Sunday in the Brunson League here in Baltimore at Baltimore City Community College, and Will loves him. He and Will have a little bond. It's pretty cool that he gets to hang around NBA players. When I grew up, I didn't have that opportunity. It was always like "I got to meet this person or ask for an autograph." Now he just knows them on a first name basis and they know him. So that's a blessing.
Coming from Baltimore, did you ever get to play basketball at Cal Ripken Jr.'s house? Ripken was known for hosting legendary games.
CE: Yeah of course. They're perfect. There's a little bit of locker room talk we can't really get on to on the radio, but it's pretty cool. This is grown man [basketball]. You have to be a grown man to endure what goes on at Cal Ripken's house when we played. You had to be a grown man. I pretty much grew up really fast being around those guys.
Was Cal legit as a basketball player?
CE: He could play. He could actually play. He got up and down, he ran, he pushed the guys on his team. … It was pretty cool.
ore from Edwards, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: BIG3/Chapman Baehler