by | May 8, 1990 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

Forget it. This series is over. I don’t mean to sound cocky, but the Pistons can’t lose, not now, not since the plane arrived from Seattle and a certain older woman got off and gave her son a hug.

Give it up, Knicks.

James Edwards’ Mom is in town.

“Oh, now, don’t jinx it,” she says, laughing.

OK. We won’t. We will simply say that Popeye had his spinach and Superman had his phone booth and James Edwards has his Mom, so Patrick Ewing can stay home tonight. Not that Edwards needs his mother to play well. As any Detroit fan will tell you, Edwards — also known as “Buddha” — has been having a great season as Detroit’s power forward.

It’s just that, well, when his Mom is in town, James, a confirmed bachelor, sees his game elevate, which is impressive, since he is already 7-feet-1.

Maybe it’s the pot roast.

I must confess, I was unaware of The Secret Mom Weapon until Scott Hastings and David Greenwood, the “Weekend Update” staff of the Pistons, told me of her earlier visit, around Christmas, which inspired James to new heights.

“She was here for a few weeks, and James played great,” Greenwood explained.

“Yeah, and the day after she left,” Hastings added, “he scored nine points.”

Convinced that this was no coincidence, the two of them put a charity dish on the locker room table, under a sign that said “BRING BUDDHA’S MOM BACK TO TOWN.” They collected, according to Hastings, $2.30 in quarters, dimes and nickels.

“Did James accept it?” I asked.

“Nah,” Hastings said. “He got embarrassed and took the dish away. I guess he figured if we couldn’t raise the whole $200, it wasn’t worth it.” It’s the good life with Mom

Now before Edwards turns completely red, let’s remember that mothers have a good tradition in the NBA. Magic Johnson’s Mom cooks for the Lakers when they visit Detroit. And Mary Thomas, mother of Isiah, has become such a celebrity that they made a TV movie about her.

So it seems only fitting that Nan Edwards, a charming woman who drove her only son to his high school practices, and waits for his phone call after each Pistons contest, should receive some credit, too.

After all, she does the cooking.

“Oh, I guess I eat a little better when she stays with me,” shrugs Edwards, who, like any good son, makes up the guest room when mother comes to town. The two of them share meals together, talk after the games. Edwards says they were always close, ever since he was a kid in Seattle.

Of course, Hastings won’t leave it at that. He has this whole thing figured out:

“He eats better! He’s home early! Heck, he’s in the house watching TV with her at 9:30 at night! What’s James, 34 years old? He’s 22 now. His Mom comes into town, he’s 22 years old.

“If teams were smart, they’d fly all Moms in for the playoffs. Are you kidding? We’d be awesome.”

Now, maybe Hastings is crazy. Or maybe he has something here. I checked. Lo and behold: during the Christmas stretch from Dec. 16 to Jan. 6, when Mrs. Edwards came to visit, Buddha was indeed at his best. He averaged nearly 18 points a game and shot 57 percent. He was the leading scorer twice and the Pistons were hot.

And as soon as she left, in the game against Chicago, James shot 3-for-10.

Must be a hell of a pot roast. Ewing’s hot, but so is the Mom Factor

Anyhow, Mrs. Edwards’ arrival last Friday should be inspiring news to the Pistons, considering that Edwards will be one of several Detroit big men trying to put the crunch on Ewing, who is so hot right now he doesn’t even need relatives.

In the first round of the playoffs, Ewing destroyed the Boston frontline of Robert Parish, Kevin McHale and Larry Bird, all of whom are old enough to be his grandfather. And now he threatens Detroit. Normally, you might worry about such a thing.

Not with The Mom Factor.

“Goodness, I don’t know if I have that much influence,” says Nan Edwards, who describes herself as “of retirement age,” stands 5-feet-11, and, in her day, might have been a pretty good player.

“The facts don’t lie,” I say. “How do you explain your influence?”

“Well, James knows I want to see him win,” she says. “And we have always done things to please one another. Maybe that’s it.’

Sounds good to me. Mrs. Edwards was here during last season’s championship run. And she may stay through this season’s finals, which should make Chuck Daly happy. I don’t want to say the Pistons could sweep this series in four games. I will say that Sunday, Game 4, is Mother’s Day. Ooooooh.

Sorry, Knicks. Maybe next year, you can bring your mothers in to visit. I’m sure they’d love to see New York City and pay $17 for a hamburger. For now, the Pistons have the secret weapon, and if I were you, I wouldn’t fool with it. After all, you know the old saying:

It’s not nice to fool Mother Edwards.


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