When the BIG3 franchise Power made Nancy Lieberman the first female head coach in a mens professional sports league, history was made and the games ultimate pioneer added another scaled wall to her collection.
Lady Magic, the redhead legend from Queens, NY, was a three-time All-American at Old Dominion and a two-time U.S. Olympian.
The groundbreaking womens player, who played and coached in the WNBA and also works as an assistant coach for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, assumed the coaching position with the Power that was vacated by Clyde Drexler, who became the BIG3 league commissioner after Roger Mason’s dismissal.
A look at Nancy Lieberman becoming the first female head coach of a professional men’s league. Look at how Nancy leads her new team, Power! Posting is not trying to claim ownership or rights to the footage used. All rights belong to Big3 and Fox Sports/FS1
Lieberman’s ascension to head coach in an all-men’s league is what most resonates with those unfamiliar with her socially impactful and illustrious resume as a player, coach and social activist.
However, she flexed an elite coaching competency in her first year coaching the Power, with the Hall of Famer being voted the BIG3 Coach of the Year.
A revamped roster and Lieberman’s invaluable acumen, experience and gritty infusion led Power to the No. 1 seed and into this Fridays BIG3 Championship game against 3s Company at Barclays Center, which airs live on FOX at 8:00 pm, EST.
Who’s got the grit and who’s gonna quit? #BIG3Brooklyn #BIG3Championship Tune in live on FOX tomorrow, 8PM ET https://t.co/sOhHJk2DE2
Nancy broke ground But we (hired her) because she was the best coach available, said BIG3 Co-Founder / Co-CEO Jeff Kwatinetz on a conference call this week. “We’re proud that we broke the barrier but thats not why we did it. We wanted the best coach and the fact that shes in the finals validates that gender doesnt determine quality in coaching. Hopefully the NBA, who has been working with some female coaches, will open up some doors.
When Nancy Lieberman was appointed Assistant Coach of the Sacramento Kings, she became the second woman in history to coach a men’s pro basketball team. And that’s just 1 of the barriers Nancy broke in her amazing career! Click play to hear Nancy’s inspiring story, and see how she’s paving the way for the next generation of basketball players.
During its two-year existence, Ice Cubes BIG3 League has opened up doors, created jobs and exposure, and provided players, coaches and fans with a new basketball experience driven by nostalgia. The league has also created an atmosphere of diversity and equal opportunity for men and women based on their abilities.
Chairman of the Board Amy Trask is part of the four-headed braintrust of the BIG3 along with Commissioner Clyde Drexler, Ice Cube and Kwatinetz. On this weeks conference call leading up to Fridays championship, Trask genuinely expressed her feelings about the direction of the league as it pertains to women.
“I want to make a few points. I was in the room with Jeff and Cube and Clyde when the topic of hiring Nancy came up. I cannot emphasize any more than I’m trying to emphasize right now that not one of those men considered her gender. And I have the great, great fortune of working with these men. So for the second time in my career I am working with men who hire without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, religion or any other individuality that has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on whether or not someone can do a job.
The way we’re doing it with players as partners is the only way to go” @icecube was on the @BUILDseriesNYC earlier today #BIG3Brooklyn #BIG3Championship https://t.co/S89vxhIZBa
And as we sat there and Cube and Jeff and Clyde never considered Nancys gender, Clyde then reached out to players on the team, who also didnt consider Nancys gender. Jeff was eloquent in noting that while our intent was not to make a statement or break a barrier it’s delightful if we are, but the important point here about the men of the BIG3 is that none of them gave a damn that Nancy is a woman.
Nancy doesn’t think about her gender. I dont think about her gender. None of the players in the BIG3 think about her gender. She is not a woman coach. She is a coach and oh by the way, shes coaching the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
Liebermans BIG3 arrival coincides with the leagues rise in just its second year, as ratings are up, excitement is evident and the caliber of players that want to ball is exceptional.
“The thing we are most proud of is that in an era where most of the gigantic sports leagues like MLB, NFL, NBA have created great leagues over decades, we’ve managed to establish something that is resonating with millennials, using the older players…we almost reached one million viewers this year,” Kwatinetz said.
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Were getting a young audience, lots of traffic and excitement on social media. We have so much traffic that our site actually went down. We have players, playing as hard as they could. Its about passion. One thing this leagues achieved, its a league where games have stakes, players want to win and audiences live or on television see players having fun and really competing. We see them in a lot of sports but not as consistently as we’ve been able to do so far.
So we really owe alot to those coaches
Lieberman is lit, but opposing coach Michael Cooper is no slouch. The two have previously matched X’s and O’s in the WNBA. Cooper, a former ’80s Lakers star, is the coach of 3’s Company. Hes won five NBA championships as a player, hes won a D-League championship and a WNBA championship.
They had a lot of battles in the WNBA so these guys know each other back and forth, said BIG3 Commissioner Clyde Drexler. Theres no one with a bigger quest to win than a Michael Cooper or a Nancy Lieberman.
If you look at both teams rosters, they are deep and talented and well-coached.
Power (8-1) is led by four former NBA players; Chris Birdman Andersen, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Corey Maggette and Quentin Richardson.
3’s Company counters with some NBA talent of their own; Drew Gooden, Jason Maxiell, Baron Davis and Andre Emmett.
Andre Emmett says this is my house. https://t.co/vwS7t2RFfY
Talent, Social consciousness, genderless thinking, acceptance of ideas and diversity, great production, quality talent, legendary characters like Nancy Lieberman, cannabidiol-friendly
and a championship game in Brooklyn?
No wonder Ice Cubes BIG3 League is becoming a millenials attraction.