Anthony Edwards during a break in the action against the Denver Nuggets.
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Anthony Edwards’ Tragic Family Deaths Motivate Him for Greatness

"Just stay home and grind."

If Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards had a mantra, this would be it.

Edwards values community and family above all else.

Anthony Edwards Family

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The No. 5 has a special meaning to Anthony. He wore it in honor of his mother, Yvette, and grandmother, Shirley, who died on the fifth of the month within an eight-month span, when he was in eighth grade.

Losing two maternal figures takes a toll on a young kid. His mother was a stabilizing source — Edwards refers to her as his sleeping buddy. His grandmother was the backbone of the family. She preached hard work and smiling, even when times are tough.

Edwards channeled his emotions towards basketball. He made a commitment to keep playing and work harder.

Anthony made this pact with his brother Antoine, who shared legal custody of Anthony with their sister Antoinette. Edwards' father, who nicknamed him Ant-Man, was out of the picture.

It was this close familial bond that drove the Atlanta native to play college basketball a short-trip from home at the University of Georgia over Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Auburn and Florida.

College Basketball Career

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Edwards didn't fully commit himself to hoops until high school, when he began training under former college basketball player Justin Holland. He burst onto the national high school basketball scene with the Atlanta Xpress 15U AAU team in the summer of 2016.

A freak athlete with a 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame that more resembles an NFL running back than shooting guard, his development at Holy Spirit Preparatory School was enough to reclassify from the class of 2020 to the class of 2019.

He immediately became one of the best players in the country, according to 247Sports Composite Rankings. The Holy Spirit Prep product was named a McDonald's All-American and received USA Today All-USA First Team honors.

Edwards realized his goal of becoming the No. 1 pick could happen with the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. He chose UGA based on former men's basketball head coach Tom Crean's history of developing shooting guards Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo. In college, his talent as a scorer was put on display in a Maui Invitational game against Michigan State on ESPN. He notched 37 points, with 33 coming in the second half, in a packed Hawaiian gym. The Bulldogs lost 93-85.

In 32 college games, the Georgia freshman averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.3 steals. He earned Second Team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman Team honors and was named SEC Freshman of the Year. The Bulldogs finished 16-16 before the SEC and NCAA Tournaments were called off due to the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 outbreak.

NBA Career

Anthony Edwards rises up for a dunk against the Houston Rockets.

Harrison Barden via Getty Images

Edwards declared for the 2020 NBA Draft following the cancellation. He ended up being the first overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves ahead of the likes of James Wiseman and LaMelo Ball.

Edwards quickly proved his doubters wrong by exploding onto the NBA scene. He's brought his electric scoring and insane athleticism to the pro game and was named to the NBA-All Rookie Team. He averaged 19.3 points and 4.7 rebounds while appearing in all 72 games of his rookie campaign.

In his second year, Edwards improved his field goal, three-point and free-throw percentage to bring his scoring average up to 21.3 points per game. He, Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell, along with head coach Chris Finch, led the Wolves to the NBA play-in tournament against the Los Angeles Clippers with 46 wins — doubling their win total from the previous year.

Edwards clearly has a bright future and projects to be one of the league's top scorers for a long time. Although he doesn't wear No. 5 anymore, the number still holds a special meaning to him as a reminder for who he plays for.

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