Making people smile is what Simone Edwards has done, on and off the basketball court, her entire life. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, the 6’4” former center is the first Caribbean and Jamaican player to be signed to the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).
As a high school senior, Edwards was offered a full scholarship to an American college – but only if she learned to play basketball. Frequently referred to as the “Jamaican Hurricane,” Edwards is famous in the WNBA for her fan-favorite “Shimmy Shake” and her record as one of the top rebounders in the world.
She first garnered attention on the court during junior college, at Seminole State College in Seminole, Oklahoma, leading the team to an undefeated conference record, ranking in the National Junior College Athletic Association Top 10. During her tenure, she was the recipient of several top sports awards and became the First Kodak All-American in the school’s history. Edwards’ junior college success carried over to her time as team co-captain at Division I University of Iowa.
Upon graduating, Edwards was signed to the WNBA New York Liberty during the 1997 inaugural season, becoming the first Jamaican player signed in the WNBA. She gained international prominence as a basketball star in Italy, Hungary, Israel, and Spain leading teams to championships including the Israeli Cup and the Spanish Copa de la Reina. In 2000, she signed with the Seattle Storm’s inaugural team, ultimately becoming a WNBA champion in 2004. Edwards announced her retirement after a six-year career with the Seattle Storm in 2006, retiring as the longest-tenured member on the original Storm roster.
Post-retirement, Edwards was selected to represent her home country as team captain on the Jamaica Basketball Women’s National Team, winning the country’s first-ever gold medal at the 2006 Caribbean Basketball Confederation Championship; and in 2014, she returned to the team as head coach, winning yet another gold medal.
Edwards is a member of the Seattle Storm All-Decade Team and the Seattle Storm Legend Fraternity, and she was named an NCAA Women’s Basketball Ambassador. In 2015, she starred in the award-winning documentary feature film “Coming Back to the Hoop”, coaching senior women to the Senior National Basketball Championship. As part of her lifetime commitment to philanthropy and community service, she founded Simone4Children Foundation to uplift and educate children in Kingston, and inspired by the bullying she experienced from childhood to college, she also created The Anti-Bully Project as a champion in the fight against bullying worldwide. In 2017, the Jamaican government bestowed her with the Order of Distinction award for her outstanding contribution to Jamaica's Women's National Basketball.
Edwards is a highly sought-after speaker who shares her incredible personal stories of success, failure, and determination. As the co-founder of Diverse Writers Room, a literature, television and film content creation company, she recently published “Unstoppable”, a memoir of adversity, perseverance and triumph.