Nancy Elizabeth Lieberman (born July 1, 1958), nicknamed “Lady Magic”, is a former professional basketball player who played and coached in the WNBA and currently works as an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Lieberman is regarded as one of the greatest figures in women’s basketball.
In 2000, she was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame. Lieberman is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
At age 17, Lieberman was named to the USA Basketball team roster. She would play for the team in the 1975 USA Women’s Pan American Team, three years younger than the next youngest teammates. The games were originally planned for Santiago, Chile, then Sao Paulo, Brazil and finally held in Mexico City, Mexico in October. The Pan Am team had failed to win the gold in 1967 and 1971. This year, the team would be more successful, compiling a 7–0 record, and winning the gold medal for the first time since 1963.
From 1976 to 1980, Lieberman attended Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and played on the women’s basketball team there. During that time, she and her team won two consecutive AIAW National Championships (1979, 1980) and one WNIT (Women’s National Invitation Tournament) Championship in 1978. She was the first two-time winner of the prestigious Wade Trophy, a national “player of the year” award in college women’s basketball, and was selected as the Broderick Award winner for basketball as the top women’s player in America. Lieberman also won three consecutive Kodak All-America awards (1978, ’79, ’80). Lieberman was one of six young adults to win the Young American Award from the Boy Scouts of America in 1980.
Lieberman earned the nickname “Lady Magic,” a nod to Earvin “Magic” Johnson of NBA fame. Lieberman set a school record for career assists (961) that still stands today. She led the team in assists each of the four years she was on the team—in her sophomore year she averaged 8.9 per game. Lieberman amassed 2,430 points along with 1,167 rebounds in her collegiate career, producing an average of 18.1 points per game. Lieberman achieved a triple double (40 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists) against Norfolk State in her sophomore year. Lieberman stole the ball 562 times and assisted a basket 961 times in her college career, believed to be modern records. She is the holder of several single-game and single-season records, including best free-throw shooting percentage in her freshman and sophomore years.
Lieberman earned her degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Old Dominion University on May 6, 1980. She was inducted into the ODU Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.
Career highlights and awards
2× Honda award for basketball (1979, 1980)
Honda-Broderick Cup for all sports (1979)
Silver medal – second place 1976 Montreal Team Competition
Gold medal – first place 1979 Seoul National Team
Pan American Games
Gold medal – first place 1975 Mexico Team Competition
Silver medal – second place 1979 Puerto Rico Team Competition
Gold medal – first place 1979 Taipei Team Competition