The door that Becky Hammon knocked down when she became an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs has just had its second entrant. Nancy Lieberman, once nicknamed “Lady Magic” because she was also an incredibly gifted passer for her height (5-foot-10), has been hired by the Sacramento Kings as an assistant coach, according to ESPN. She confirmed it to ESPN using perhaps the most badass text possible in this situation: “I am a King.”
Lieberman, who has been enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, may be even more qualified for a position when Hammon was when the latter was hired. She won international medals with Team USA as a teenager in the 1970s, won national titles with Old Dominion University after that, and played in the WNBA’s inaugural season at the age of 39. She’s also been a head coach and GM in the WNBA, and was the coach of the D-League’s Texas Legends from 2009 to 2011.
She was the first female coach to be employed by the NBA at any level, so, in a way, she broke down a barrier for Hammon. Her most recent job was as a studio analyst for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Any coach with Lieberman’s experience and body of work would be a great hire for any organization. The Kings may have taken a beating in the press for their decisions this offseason, but Vlade Divac and Vivek Ranadive made a winning decision with Lieberman’s hire.