Rebecca Lobo was born at the right place and at the right time in history and seemed to always do the right thing. Now the former UConn star is getting rewarded for her decades of service with an induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Congratulations to #ncaaW’s Rebecca Lobo and Muffet McGraw on Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement tonight!
Lobo is a pioneer whose presence in the paint and in the press helped her transcend sports and use it as a platform to become one of the faces of the growing empires we now proudly call womens professional basketball.
If you’re watching videos with your preschooler and would like to do so in a safe, child-friendly environment, please join us at http://www.sesamestreet.org The letter O is important to Rebecca Lobo. Sesame Street is a production of Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit educational organization which also produces Pinky Dinky Doo, The Electric Company, and other programs for children around the world.
As a young reporter in New York, I covered the UConn women’s program. One of the cornerstones of the programs steady rise to greatness, Sue Bird, was an All-city point guard from legendary girls basketball factory Christ The King in Queens.
But before Bird, Lobo helped build that program and got an appearance on David Letterman after leading the Huskies to the 1995 NCAA Women’s hoops title.
I also covered the infant years of the WNBA franchise in Charlotte, North Carolina, and being a native New Yorker, I stayed abreast of the New York Libertys progress because Lobo and Teresa Weatherspoon were tearing down Madison Square Garden and going to chips.
Rebecca Lobo has been included in the 2017 Hall of Fame Class. Check out her highlights from her amazing career in the WNBA!
Lobo had skills and was a mix-master in the paint. She was blessed with unusual 6-foot-4 height, hustle, fire and a humility that endeared her to everyone. In addition, she had an ability to play outside of the post and stretch the defense with three’s. She had leadership qualities that allowed her to function effectively in a team setting and made her an All-American and NCAA Champion in 1995, an Olympic gold medalist in 1996 and an inaugural WNBA All-Star in 1999.
It was almost as if Lobos life was predetermined, from her birth to her current role as one of the best womens basketball analysts in the world and her iconic status in the annals of American basketball. It also didn’t hurt that she began her career in the WNBA’s largest media market.
She was handpicked to be one of the pioneers of womens basketball and a role model for a generation of female athletes, a stamp of legitimacy for Title IX and all it entailed.
“Rebecca, along with Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes and those people, were kind of the founding fathers, the founding mothers, of the WNBA,” her college coach Geno Auriemma told the Hartford Courant. “Again, the league wasn’t very good. … The level of basketball wasn’t very good when you compare it to today. People only knew the personalities. They knew the people that were the representatives. That’s what she was.
Putting her in New York, think about the crowds and the excitement around the New York Liberty. It was the start of something that’s become kind of a mainstay for the sport. And that generally didn’t happen in women’s teams sports.”
Now Lobo’s getting the ultimate love with her enshrinement today into the Hall of Fame. She has reached a pinnacle that few women ever reach in the male-dominated world of professional basketball, where women are still pushing for visibility, financial stability and opportunities for their games to be seen on TV.
In this edition of WNBA Action’s Spotlight, we look at the 10 year anniversary of Title IX.
Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988, and his summary of Lobos life says it best.
The UConn team that went 35-0 her senior season had Jennifer Rizzotti and Kara Wolters and a Hall of Fame coach, Geno Auriemma, and the 1996 Olympic team that won gold in Atlanta was obviously filled with stars. That first WNBA campaign, backed by the NBA and ESPN, included three prominent players in Houston alone: Cynthia Cooper as the best player, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson. Even Lobos own Liberty had another big name, Teresa Weatherspoon.
Lobo, though, was at the center of a crucial time for womens basketball UConn building into a title machine, Olympics, the start of the WNBA. She was a foundation for the greatness of a program in college and an important part of the bridge in helping foster a pro game as one of the faces of the new league. The NBA and the cable network pushed it, but Lobo was among the players whose talent gave it early credibility.”
Womens sports is as popular and plentiful as it’s ever been and Lobos basketball crusade is an important chapter in the rise of womens hoops in this country. Shouts to the icons. Springfield, Massachusetts is the perfect resting place for the growing legacy of Rebecca Lobo.