Sacramento Kings have hired former Women’s National Basketball Association player, Nancy Lieberman as their new assistant coach to George Karl. She’s the second full-time woman in a coaching capacity with a top-level North American sports team, following the appointment and success of Becky Hammon with the San Antonio Spurs.
She was part of the inaugural season of the WNBA. Prior to that, along with her international experience, she had played in several leagues before WNBA. Following her retirement as a player, she coached teams in the WNBA and the NBA D-League. She was involved in the sport in other capacities as well, working as an analyst for ESPN and a presenter for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
She has been inducted in the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame, the Basketball Hall of Fame, The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. What’s even more remarkable, is that she will,more than likely, hold the record of being the oldest player in the WNBA. She had signed a 7 day contract with Detroit Shock on 24 July 2008.
She was a vocal supporter and one of the first to congratulate Becky Hammon and the NBA on Hammon’s appointment last season with the San Antonio Spurs.
“Becky opened up a lot of doors even for myself, with what the Spurs did and then with her success at the summer league,” Lieberman said. “It has an effect on a lot of people’s thinking and the acceptance. I believe a lot of people saw that and went: `Why can’t we do that? That’s something that’s really important, and there’s other people open-minded, why can’t it be us?’
“What Becky did was very, very important for everybody. With that said, I love this game, I’ve been around the game for 40 years. I’m qualified.”
With 40 years of experience, there are very few people who can match Nancy’s experience. Her coaching experience consists of WNBA’s Detroit Shock , Dallas Mavericks affiliated D-League Team and the Texas Legends.
She is not the only change in George Karl’s coaching staff at Sacramento. Chad Iske has been appointed as the associate head coach and John Welch and Anthony Carter as assistants. However, with her and Karl leading the Kings, the team has one of the most experienced coaching staff in the league. As the King rebuild continues, they will hope Nancy Lieberman will have the same effect on the Kings that Becky Hammon did with San Antonio.
It might seem Female coaches are being looked as valuable additions to the team, and might have permanently broken the barrier of being a “man only” job.
Goodluck to Nancy Lieberman on her new venture in the NBA.