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Teresa Weatherspoon inducted into Liberty 'Ring of Honor'

TRACY JUSAY Special to the AmNews | 7/22/2011, 10:49 a.m.
Teresa Weatherspoon inducted into Liberty 'Ring of Honor'

Chants of "Spoon!" filled the Prudential Center during halftime of the Liberty's 88-57 victory over the Shock.

Standing at center court to a loud ovation, Teresa Weatherspoon was visibly choked up as her name and number were unveiled on the lower ring surrounding the lower bowl of the arena, officially inducting her into the "Ring of Honor." Weatherspoon played seven seasons with the Liberty and led them to three WNBA Finals appearances in the first six seasons. A four-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Weatherspoon was the franchise leader in assists (1,306) and steals (453).

Addressing the fans, Weatherspoon spoke of playing basketball not for the achievements but for the love of the game. "This is a tremendous honor for me," she said. "I never played this game for any type of individual accolade. I played it because I loved it, and it was my passion and it was my gift."

For Weatherspoon, a moment like this was something she never fathomed happening. When she was a little girl, she never imagined playing in New York in front of the fans she deemed as the "best in the country."

Basketball for her was a sport she wanted to learn, understand and not disrespect in any way. "All I knew at that time was that I wanted to be pretty darn good at it," she said. "That's all I knew, to be good at it and have fun. Never did I think that these types of dreams...would ever happen. I just wanted to perform."

New York will always hold a special place in Weatherspoon's heart, and she still attends games when her schedule permits. "To come back after so many years of being away and to receive this type of love, I couldn't ask for anything more," she said regarding the longtime fans who still wear her jersey. "It's not about the game of basketball, it was about being a positive role model and being a true impact in the lives of other people."

One member of the current Liberty team has already been impacted. After the ceremony, Cappie Pondexter gave Weatherspoon a congratulatory hug, bridging the past with the present. After a 79-85 loss to the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday night, the Liberty will return to action on Thursday, July 28 when they host the Washington Mystics.