Growing Family Legacies
In 2009, at the first edition of the FIBA Americas U16 Championship, a 15-year-old guard from Irvine, California, by the name of Jordan Adams first donned a USA Basketball uniform. She went on to earn three gold medals playing for the red, white and blue.
At the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, 14-year-old Receé Caldwell, a guard out of San Antonio, Texas, won the first of her two USA Basketball gold medals.
While they never played on the same team, each player made a name for herself internationally, and now are standout collegians and crosstown rivals – Adams at USC and Caldwell at UCLA.
This week, their younger sisters have a shot at building upon their golden legacies as 16-year-old Jayda Adams and 14-year-old Desireé Caldwell are aiming for gold with the 2015 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team.
“Ever since I was little I told my mom and my dad that I was going to be better than my sister, and so just seeing her gold medals, it really made me want to go do that even more,” said Jayda Adams.
“Just watching how hard she worked and how much she did to earn that gold medal, it made me want to work even harder and do just the same as she did,” echoed the younger Caldwell.
There is a five-year difference in age with the Adams sisters and four years separate the Caldwell sisters. And while both are donning a USA Basketball jersey in the U16s, they want to make their own impression on the international stage and not be known as a little sister any longer.
“My sister has her own accolades, but I want to actually beat her accolades,” said the younger Caldwell. “Because, growing up, being the little sister, I heard, ‘Yo! You’re Receé Caldwell’s sister.’ But no, Receé Caldwell is my sister. That’s what I want to happen. So, I’m just trying to create my own accolades.”
Despite Desireé Caldwell’s desire to make a distinct and separate name for herself, she was thrilled to find out she would be wearing the same number her sister wore for USA Basketball.
“That was crazy,” Caldwell stated about seeing her game jersey for the first time. “My sister had number 5 also. So, it was like looking at my sister in the mirror again, and it was just, I don’t know, happiness just washed over my body. It was awesome.”
Preparing to set their own stage, Jayda Adams and Desireé Caldwell are currently in Puebla, Mexico, with the USA U16 squad in its final preparations for the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, which tips-off on June 24 with the USA taking on Argentina (7 p.m. EDT, live online at www.fibaamericas.com).
The USA is 15-0 and has captured three gold medals in the biennial event. And both younger sisters are thrilled to have their own shot at claiming gold after seeing the medals brought home by their siblings.
Now they have the chance to help the USA attempt to extend its U16 gold-medal streak. Jayda Adams recalled when she first realized the importance of what her sister was doing.
“I was really little,” said Jayda Adams, who was 10 when her sister captured her first gold medal. “When she made the team, I didn’t really know what was going on at first, but then I remember I went to stay at my grandma’s house with my brother and I remember waiting impatiently for the results. Like, ‘oh, did they win this game? Did they win that game? When is she coming home? Are they going to win the gold medal?’ It was really fun, and I was really proud of my sister.
“People try to compare us sometimes,” continued the younger Adams. “But Jordan tells me not to worry about it, because at the end of the day I’m my own player and she’s her own player. We play two different positions, and she just tells me to believe in myself and do my thing on the floor.”
In addition to winning a gold medal, both of these young athletes have similar aspirations for the conclusion of the trip.
“Making new friendships, learning a lot and having a great time,” said Jayda Adams about what she wants to gain.
“Great experience, new friends and new knowledge,” echoed Desireé Caldwell.
And of course, both would relish bringing home a gold medal to add to their respective family’s trophy case.
Watch all the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship games live online at www.FIBAAmericas.com
USA-Argentina • June 24 @ 7 p.m. EDT
USA-Honduras • June 25 @ 3 p.m. EDT
USA-Mexico • June 26 @ 9 p.m. EDT
Semifinals • June 27 @ TBD
Finals • June 28 @ TBD