Listen to what Nancy Lieberman has to say about how the game of basketball has changed over the years, on & off-court training advice, the mental side of the game, some of her memorable experiences as a player, whose advice she sought when she was made the first woman to coach a professional men’s team, and much more.
Nancy Lieberman is regarded as one of the greatest figures in women’s basketball. Inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1996 and into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999, Lieberman is an accomplished basketball player, coach, two-time Olympian, broadcaster, and writer.
A native of Queens, New York, Nancy played hoops on the Harlem courts and developed a tough style of basketball that led her to one of the most distinguished careers in basketball history. At the age of 18, she became the youngest basketball player in Olympic history to win a silver medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics. From 1976 to 1980, Lieberman attended Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where she and her team won two consecutive Association of Intercollegiate Athletics of Women (AIAW) National Championships (1979 and 1980) and compiled a 72-2 record.
In January 1997, at the age of 38, Lieberman was drafted in the inaugural season by the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Phoenix Mercury. During her professional career, she averaged 15.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game. In 1998, she was hired as the general manager and head coach of the WNBA’s Detroit Shock, a team she coached for three seasons. Lieberman again made history on July 24, 2008, by coming out of retirement and signing to play for the Detroit Shock of the WNBA, becoming the oldest player in the history of the league at the young age of 50. She broke the previous record of 39 years of age, which Nancy herself established as a member of the Phoenix Mercury in 1997.
In November 2009, Nancy Lieberman became the first woman to coach a professional men’s basketball team, the Texas Legends, an affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks. In 2011 she stepped away from her coaching duties to join the front office for the Texas Legends. Lieberman currently lives in Dallas, Texas.
Read about her book, Basketball for Women 2E.