Teresa Weatherspoon is one of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame’s most recent inductees, joining the hallowed halls earlier this month in the Class of 2019 as the tenth former WNBA player to achieve the accomplishment.
“This is something that I never thought, never, ever envisioned in my life,” Weatherspoon said in her Hall of Fame acceptance speech. “The game has been so kind to me, given me so many things. It has been my sanctuary, it’s been my safe haven; a place where I can go and feel good about my life. I had an opportunity with this game to see some things I thought I’d never see, do some things I thought I’d never do, meet people I thought I’d never be able to meet.”
She was again in the headlines this week for another great reason, too, as the New Orleans Pelicans hired her to their coaching staff in a “player development role” on Thursday. Weatherspoon will join Swin Cash in New Orleans, who the organization brought in as its Vice President of Basketball Operations/Team Development earlier in the summer.
In 1999, though, she cemented her legacy by hitting “The Shot” from half court to win Game 2 of the WNBA Finals that year, though she accomplished much more than that in her career.
In college at Louisiana Tech, Weatherspoon was a star, leading her school to a national championship as a senior in 1988, putting up ridiculous assist numbers and winning National Player of the Year honors. She played overseas for years in the late-80s and early-90s until the WNBA’s founding in 1997. T-Spoon found herself on the New York Liberty after the organization drafted her No. 10 overall in the first WNBA Elite Draft. She became one of the defining faces on a team that went to four WNBA Finals in six seasons, being named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1997 and 1998 and making five All-Star Game appearances in her seven years in New York from 1997-2003, all while in her 30s. Weatherspoon spent the final campaign of her career with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2004.
“No better place for this fire right here to play than New York City,” Weatherspoon said during the speech.
Weatherspoon also competed in two Olympics with Team USA, earning gold in Seoul in 1988 and bronze in Barcelona in 1992, and the 1986 FIBA World Championship for Women, where she helped America win gold in Moscow.
After retiring from playing the game, the Pineland, Texas-product took up coaching. She became the head coach of the Westchester Phantoms of the rebooted ABA in 2007, holding the position for one campaign. From there, Teresa Weatherspoon returned to Ruston, accepting an associate head coach role with her alma mater. During the following season, head coach Chris Long was fired, and Weatherspoon was elevated to interim top boss for the rest of the campaign, completing the year with a regular season WAC championship and a WNIT appearance. In the summer of 2009, the school made it official and hired T-Spoon outright and its next head coach.
She stayed in the position from 2009-14, winning one WAC regular season crown (2011), one WAC Tournament title (2010), and getting Louisiana Tech to the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2011. The 2010 trip was the program’s first in four years after its 25-year run in the Big Dance dating back to the foundation of Division I NCAA women’s basketball.
T-Spoon acted as a consultant for the Liberty during the 2014 season, then joined the staff as the organization’s first-ever Director of Player Development in 2015. The next year, Teresa Weatherspoon added Director of the Liberty Basketball Academy to her duties. Then in 2017, she was also named Director of Franchise Development, becoming further entrenched in the team’s front office.