Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 1 year ago

Nancy Lieberman

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Joining me in the Huddle this week is an amazing woman, mother, player and coach. Playing hoops on the rough-and-tumble Harlem courts, Brooklyn-bred Nancy Lieberman learned to play a physical, aggressive style of basketball unlike other women of her time. As a 5'10" point guard, Lieberman was taller than many of the guards of her era, and her ability to drive to the hoop, dish out assists, and grab hard-fought rebounds served her well during her stellar career. Lieberman led Old Dominion University to back-to-back AIAW national championships in 1979 and 1980. She was twice named as the Wade Trophy winner - a basketball first. As the nation's top female athlete during those two seasons, Lieberman was the two-time winner of the Broderick Cup as well. Lieberman played professionally in the Women's Professional Basketball League, Women's American Basketball Association, United States Basketball League, Women's National Basketball Association, and with the Washington Generals. Earning WBL MVP honors with the Dallas Diamonds in 1981, she led the team to the 1984 WABA championship.

I want to thank Nancy for her honest conversation and all of the incredible stories she shared with us. Her stories about Muhammed Ali, Kobe Bryant, Ice Cube and many others were incredible. It was a hard day for her because it was the anniversary of Kobe's death. They were very close. Thank you Nancy for sharing your special relationship with me and all of our listeners.

Please visit http://nancyliebermancharities.org to donate!

...welcome everyone to huddle up with Gus. I'm your host. 15 year NFL quarterback Gus, for, uh, we're here in the new 16 31 digital news studio. If you wanna learn Mawr or listen to previous shows, you can check us out on our website. Huddle up with gus dot com or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. While in the huddle, our guests describe how sports shaped their life. Now let's join the huddle. Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of Huddle Up With Gusts. I'm your host guest Ferrat um, 15 year NFL quarterback. You're here in the new 16 31 digital news studio. I am so excited for day. Actually, I am a little nervous. I've interviewed a lot of people. We've done over 100 shows, but today is somebody that you know. We talk about breaking the glass ceiling. She's done it all. She's in all the hall of fames. She's won Olympic medals. She's won gold medals in the Pan American Games. Uh, she's coached in both leagues. The W NBA. She's, uh, coached professional's professional sports. She's done it all. She is, Um, I think, regarded as the highest of highest that that people look up to and wanna be like. And she she has just changed the game. And she comes from a little place called Brooklyn, New York. So joining me today is none other than, uh, Nancy Lieberman. Nancy, how are you doing today? I'm doing great. On a sad day. I'm doing great. But thank you for having me on your show. And I might add that I enjoyed watching you play throughout your career. Yeah, you know, it's appreciate that and thank you. And it is a sad day, Uh, you know, because those experiences on things that happen, what happened and what you just told me before we came on the air. Those were some things that you could never forget. And, you know, I see people that I played with and known have passed away. Just last week, Tony Jones passed away. He was an offensive lineman. He was 54 with the Broncos who I played with when I went out there. So I understand what you're going through on def. You want to express anything? Please do it. I'd love to hear that story again about about Kobe. I was very fortunate to have 20 years with him. And even though we had known each other when I came back to play in the W NBA in 2000 and eight at 50 I was doing TV for ESPN, and obviously I played for Detroit against Houston, and then the next week I went back to my real job and I was doing sideline and we had just finished interviewing Phil Jackson with Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, and I was going down the hall of the practice facility and somebody goes, Hey, hey, come here, Nancy And it was Kobe Bryant and I was like, High, He goes, Come on in here. I want to talk to you for a minute He says, You know Natalia, my daughter and Vanessa, We watched you play and e have so many questions for you, and it was almost like I was in a think tank with him. See, he doesn't discriminate against information and enduring this 15 minutes or so. I kept joking with him because I'm mildly sarcastic. I kept saying So let's see, you're the M V p of the MBA, just one another championship and you're interested in what a 50 year old white woman did on the court days ago. And he was he just wanted information how my body felt, how I trained. What was my mental mindset? How was I received? What was it like with my son? You know, Was he supportive where? People? It was a role beginning of an amazing friendship that we had And, you know, a matter of fact, uh, I talked to him two nights before he died. We were texting. I do the TV for the pelicans, Onda Thunder and I was in the studio and a couple of guys were sitting there, like in front of me because they were watching the Spurs game and another game. And they go She believe Kobe told a reporter that women could play. You know, some some W NBA players could play in the NBA, and they were kind of giggling. And I was sitting behind a desk and I went, I'm still here, you know? Greg, Greg and Bonner turned around. I go, Dude, it's not optimal, but it's doable. You know? I didn't have the w N b A in my prime. I had to play for Pat Riley and the Lakers. I had to play for the Utah Jazz. I had to play to two years in the United States Basketball League men's league, which is equivalent to the jelly. I said, You know, I got tired of having my my behind beat, but it's doable. And so I joked, I go Well, let's just ask Kobe what he thinks and they kind of looked at me and I said, Hey, you wanna talk about women playing against God's? But I still have the...

...text messages on my phone and he says Yes when And I said Now he goes, Yeah, and I mean, if I read you two things that he said and keep out some of the cursing But he was such a proponent of women, so he asked me or we're done. He's had asked me before. You know, Thio train Jonah's team with him for a day and I said, Yeah, I said, You still want me to come out and put the team through practice? He said Yes. I said, When you practice, he says every night and I went, of course, you dio eso I said, Okay, I'll text you Monday and, well, I'll come out next week. I have TV. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. So in the next day, I'm doing an appearance in Indian Wells, California and he calls me and he goes, Let's get this thing set up. So I was gonna come out on Wednesday, put the kids through practice, come out to the house, get on the helicopter and go to the academy. And I shared this with my son, T. J. Who plays professionally over in Europe. He's with Maccabi Tel Aviv, and I never really told T J the plans because they weren't firm. But that Sunday morning I was at a conference and my phone rang and I ran out the back door of the conference hall and I go T J T J was not. He was mother. Mother, I go. What? He goes bomb? You didn't hear? I said here What? Kobe Bryant helicopter crashed and you died because, Mom, I thought you were on the helicopter. And I mean, I just about hit the floor. A secret Service guy grabbed me. It took me in a room. I was devastated, devastated, still in. Well, I couldn't imagine that you along with so many other people that were mama fans and, you know, that cherished his friendship. You know, when you hear about somebody that excelled like Kobe did but then still had wanted to be, I think he strived to be normal in a way, you know, and want to give back so much to the community and everybody else. And, um and I think he knew that what you were doing, who you were. You could help him break barriers for his girls, for everyone else around the world. And, you know, I'm really sorry for your loss, and this is probably a tough day, and I thank you for being on the show with me. Um, but if we could change subjects for a little bit back to your mamba mentality growing up, you know, that's what our show is really about is about how sports shapes your life. And I mean, I watched your induction speech. I listen to you talk about your mom. Andi, tell me about growing up. And really, when you fell in love, what was that first time you just saw? You know, sports is this is what I want to do with my life. Well, for me, everybody has their story in their journey For me, I was a poor kid from New York and, you know, and no father and I kind of felt hopeless and helpless. You know, I'm a girl from the sixties. There was no gender equity. There was no title nine, but there was no W N b a. There was no celebrating being celebrated. It was being tolerated because people, you know, you don't know what you don't know and I was different. And I hated being maligned and bullied and judged by people because I needed sports more than sports, needed me and gave me some relief to get out of the house and to go play sports. And and honestly, my first sport was football, and I played in the Tackle Football League and you know. Then the guy started getting bigger and stronger, and I went to baseball and then ultimately found my way to basketball. But it was 10 years old where I was standing in the kitchen. E I was just so tired of people being so negative because, you know, I wasn't Carjacking anybody. I wasn't stealing. I wasn't you know in a gang all were optional growing up in New York, But I use sports, and it made it made me happy. Um, internally. Wherever I wasn't happy, it changed my life. And then I heard this guy on the TV. He said I'm the greatest of all times Be Joe Frazier. Like a B to a foreman Like a beat. Sonny Liston back in 1964. I'm too pretty not to be the champion of the world. I am the greatest of all times. I was mesmerized by Mohammed Ali. I fell in love with him and anything that I could read about the champ. I did. I remember standing in the kitchen looking at my mom, and I just said, You better get used to it. I'm gonna be the greatest of all times. You know, uh, and she was like, What is wrong with...

...you? I said, you gonna want my autograph one day because I'm gonna be famous. I'm gonna be great. And I ran to my room and cry. 10 years old, I end up, you know, making the Olympic team as a high schooler and still the youngest Olympic basketball player ever. male or female. We win the Pan Am games in 75 in the silver. In 76 I get a scholarship to go to Old Dominion University. We ended up winning back to back national championships and through all this, if I be transparent, I was fraudulent. You know, I lived behind Nancy Lieberman or being that great athlete or a champion, but I was still broken, you know, from my childhood, right before my senior year, I was asked to do an appearance at the stock exchange. So the Olympic Committee, it was a fundraiser. We're I'm back home with my bestie Barbara and my mom and we're going up the escalator and I go, Who's the other athlete with? Okay, I think I just gotta looks at me. And you were going to the Green Room. Who's the other athletes? Oh, yeah, it's Mohammed Ali. I'm like Mohammed Ali is here because yeah, he's in the room. I mean, I couldn't breathe and the door opens and it's like that. Oprah, huh? There is the man who changed my life, and we had to the day he died. We had this amazing friendship and relationship, and he just never took it His wing off of me. I mean, he mentored me, and he taught me how to be a champion in, you know, on the court, off the court, and especially with philanthropy and helping others, you talked about how you were still broken. Even though you were a champion, you were still broken. So how did Mohammed all the help you fix yourself, right When you say he mentored you, he helped you fix yourself. I mean, I think that's the most important thing, because I deal with that with my wife, right? She's just this amazing person. She's a nurse, She's a therapist. And I'm like, Honey, you're just amazing. You have to believe in yourself and she still doesn't like. Even when people give her great accolades, she still has that little bit of self doubt. How did Mohammed Ali help you fix those little broken parts in you? Well, first thing was nobody would really tell me the truth, because everybody, you know is kind of kissing my behind like that. I'm sure they did to you in your career. Nobody wanted to upset us, right, because they needed us. And I think in talking that night. Um, December of 79 with Ali. We went back to the Plaza Hotel and I spent, like, three hours with him, and he started telling me stories. And, you know, he gave me little things. Like I'm gonna ask you. There's two people in the world. There's givers, and there's takers. Nancy, I want you to respect everybody, but I want you to fear nobody. I mean, little things. And look, I was young and I was probably immature. And he said I remember him saying, You got made you special. And I was so stupid. I'm and I talk like this. How you doing? I was straight in New York. I go. Do you know God to you know, everybody How that is great. And he just looked at me like, Oh, I gotta be here for this girl. What he taught me is this, uh he taught me to love me, and, you know, your wife has to learn to love her. So you know, this, uh, I decided long ago never walk in anyone's shadow If I fail. If I succeed, at least I live as I believe. No matter what they take from me They can't take away my dignity But it's the greatest love of all is inside of me Taught me to love me I didn't love me because I was just damaged. Um, you know, not having certain things in my childhood. And when I could reconcile that I was a good person that, you know, I'm not I'm a victor. You're not a victim. It just really It helped me. And but just toe have, you know, reinforce who you are. You know, you kind of have to see it. Say it to be it. I had to see myself being a good person, actually would say, You know, I'm a good person besides being Nancy Lieberman, the basketball player. So you know, it's reinforced three ways. You see it, you say, and that's you, be it. That's who you are. And every time I would talk to him, he would just always, you know, empathy is a good thing. And even though you had this great career I played, Ali was you know, this champion everybody needs...

...just a little love and a little empathy. And he gave that to me in big doses, and you know. I guess it's funny how life issue could never predict it. But, you know, fast forward, whatever. 30 years, I'm sitting in the house with him in Phoenix, where he lived with Lonnie. I'm holding his hand. I'm feeding him food, you know, because his hands were shaking from Parkinson's and Lonnie would say he's been waiting for you all day and we would just sit and tell him how much I loved him and appreciated him and what he's done for me, right? Humility. The strength, arrogance it's not, you know, is not strength into weakness. But he gave me so much, and all I'm trying to do is repurpose it and give it back. I want I want to be a great friends of people. I want to be amazing, Mom, wanna be? I wanna be the giver And he asked me to be, Yeah, you know, And I love that story because for me, a lot of that took hold when we started having Children, right, because all of a sudden you're this player and everybody looked up to you and then all of a sudden you have kids, and there's just this whole different world that you never knew that all of a sudden you got to take care of. And when I we had our three kids and then all these responsibilities, sports was became a job, and still people looked up to you. But it kind of all went away and that empathy grew in me because of my kids. And I wanted to do better. I wanted to be better. I wanted to make sure that they saw the world, um, in a great way, and I hope we we've done that. But I think that's kind of if I hear your story right, maybe that's what all he was kind of seeing with you write that he took you in under his wing and he said that You know, you have those God given abilities, but there's something else that he could give to you, and I love that story. But I heard he also met your mom, and she had a quite a great comment to him. Well, it's, you know, she went over when when we went in the room and she saw Holly. She, you know, my mom's a little 5 ft four At the time she was a heavy little New York Jewish mother and she goes over him. She and she puts her arms around his neck and goes Mr Mohammed Pahlawan. Yeah. My name is Vinnie Lieberman from Queens, and I was so embarrassed, and I swore to my son I would never be like that. I probably am exactly like her. And she goes my daughter, my daughter is the greatest of all times. And he goes, Listen, lady, there's only one greatest of all times and it's me. And she was No, Mr Mohammed, I know you're good, but my daughter I mean, you can't make this stuff up and he has this. I mean, I have a picture right here in my office, and he's just smiling because my mother is saying this to him. So he calls me over, and I you know, sheep, your sleeve. I have my head down and he goes, Your mom says You're great and I go, No, Mr Mohammed, you know, I'm not. I'm the greatest of all times because there's two of us. I said, Yeah, and you know, I hit people to he goes, I'm gonna have to ask you to stop hitting people. I said You hit people, he goes, I get paid to hit people who cannot hit people on dso it just this loving relationship, this kindness this I'm really You know, all I wanted ever do is make him proud of of how I am. You know, Lonnie Ali is is my lifelong sister, and I appreciate she gave me access and proximity to him. Always, always, Um, I have so many memories, but it's helped me be a better person and be the woman that I am today. Now, if we get on the court, you know, way we were playing basketball and Larry Fitzgerald South Larry is like my little brother. And it was me and T. J. I was probably 30 to 53 Larry and his cousin were Plan and t j. We lose by two points, and TJ looks at me and he goes, you're a liability on Larry. Did you just call your mother a liability? And he goes, she's out here playing ball with us. So, you know, I want to do those things. I wanna be that parent to t. J. Maybe things that I did not have in my childhood And, you know, uh, I want Thio. I want I want to shake up the world. I wanna help. I'm not afraid because I'm not afraid to play. I'm not afraid to compete. I'm not afraid to coach men. I'm not afraid to win. I'm not afraid to give the best of who I am And I'm...

...you know, we're all flawed, But no, I wanna I wanna leave this place better, you know, than when I got here. Yeah. I was wonder if he ever gave you that surprise call after a game. You know, like my dad would call me, and I'll be like, Oh, no, my dad's calling. So something didn't go right? Right? So did he ever give you that surprise call he did when I was in college after we had met. And, you know, I wouldn't say we were besties, but we stayed in touch with each other the old fashioned way, like landline and somebody up in my apartment. My friend West, he comes running downstairs. I was doing laundry and he was Nancy. Nancy, Mohammed Ali's on the phone. I'm like Mohammed Ali's on the phone and I run up to my apartment and I go Hello And he goes, Hey, Nancy, its's Mohammed. I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I can't believe you called me. He goes, I know you guys one last night. I'm really proud of you. I want to come to one of your games. So we were trying to set it up for him to come to a game where we played in San Francisco. But at that time, they couldn't figure out you know, enough security measures for him. But about 34 months later, of Sports Illustrated Curry Kirkpatrick did a feature story on me like a 13 page feature, and he said he read that, and it it just hit his heart. And he just appreciated, you know, our friendship. Um, I will tell you this in 2015. Now, he had been telling me for a long time after I started coaching in the N B. A. G. Lee, you know, with the Texas Legends, the Madison affiliate became their head coach In 2010 11, he was like, You're gonna be you're gonna coach in the NBA. And I said, How do you normally coach in the NBA and Lonnie's like you're gonna be coaching in the N B A. Well, fast forward to 2015. I'm in the gym at Plano West, about a mile from where I live, and my son was working out with coach myself and Coach Del Harris on my phone rings and it's blocked a Devens. And he's like, Hey, you know, we'd like to hire to you is in this but, you know, with the Kings and I'm just blown away. The next call I made was to Mohammed and Teleni, and I was like Lonnie, Lonnie and I was trying to be, like, super cool. I was like Lonnie, Lonnie, Where's Mohammed? Is He's there, you know, can put him on speaker. She was baby, What's wrong? And she goes, He's here and I go, Lonnie, I just got hired by the Sacramento Kings as one of their assistant coaches, and she says, Mohammed is acting, you know, like he's shooting the basketball. Then I go. You can't shoot. We know this and you know, she says to me, we're going to come to your game when you play Phoenix because he lives in Scottsdale. I'm telling you, this is the truth. We play our first game there in November. Season of sweet, um, lower level, right behind our bench. And I'm trying to be, you know, professional because, you know, I got DeMarcus Cousins. Rudy Gay. You know, there's on Rondo, all our players and somebody says, What's you know, what's the Champ doing here? And I don't remember who it was. It might have been Rondo who goes, Oh, that's that's coach's friend. So they gave me street cred right off the bat, and I turned around and I looked up in in the box and he was waving and I was blowing him kisses. And after the game, he took pictures, you know, with, you know, people with with Sacramento. He was so gracious. I just I never forget those moments, Um, no. Of how he treated me And you know, those very memorable moments. And I knew I knew that there will be a time that he wasn't gonna be in my life. I just I just feel actually very grateful, um, to have had so many, so many incredible experiences with him. Well, I think it goes back to, you know, great people like yourself. They meet other great people and they come together and they figure out how they can. Like you talked about philanthropy, other things, how they can change the world. And I think that's he recognized in that in you because we know that Mohammed Ali didn't do that with everyone. And so you definitely, um, touched him in a way probably other people really, you know, never had the chance to. So I think that's incredible. Um, a couple of things that I wanted to...

...get back Thio. I mean, so you're early experience through high school in a a you and go to the Olympics and everything. Um, And then you go to college like you have all this, you know, credibility before you even get to college. You know, a lot of people go to college and nobody even knows who they are on that team. Right? Because you come from all over the place. You've had all this incredible experience. So you become an instant leader when you get to college. What was that like for you? Did you take on that role, or did you kind of just have toe, you know, fill it out for a few years first. Well, you really I don't ever pre determined what I was supposed to. We're not supposed to do. All I did was, you know, I felt like I had been in my mind professional athlete. I didn't consider myself like a collegiate athlete because of you know, my experiences At 14, 15, 16, it was kind of almost like Luke advantage. You know, you might look at us as young people, but we probably have more experience on court than players who were seniors or, you know, players in the n b a. Who've been there for 8, 19 years. So I think there's just a true confidence. It wasn't a false confidence. Um, And when I, you know, my mindset was I wanted to be the greatest. I wanted to be the best. So every day, every drill, every practice, Honestly, I mean, I I don't know if this is a family show, but I beat the shit out of my teammates and practice every day. It's how it's just what I knew. That was my DNA. Um, I wanted to win that, you know, uh, you know Mamba mentality. If you will battle with my teammates every day. First of all, like I wanted to show my supremacy of this team. And then if I could get my teammates to lift their level and their responsibility and they're accountability because I wanted to win and we had four short years, you know, when I picked all Dominion or, you know, we were, like, six and 25. And so to to rebuild or create a program, you just have toe have a certain mentality. And we made a remember being in the locker room with the seven freshmen. And, you know, we're all still good friends today, and we kind of did a little pinky swear each one of us freshman was going to take one of the upper class Mons jobs. So eventually we wanted, you know, five freshmen starting almost like Michigan with the Fab Five. Um, but again, that was the mindset like, No, it starts now. I'm taking Debbie Richards job. You're taking, you know, Wendy Larry's job and this is what we're gonna do. And if they're not good enough to play on this team, that's not our problem. So it might sound a little cold and callous, but you know when When you get beat up at Rucker Park, you know, for years it teaches you have you have to be better. And nobody's gonna feel sorry for you because it's that next man up reality. And so our practices in many cases were harder than our games. They were very combative. But, you know, we ended up going, I think 125 and 18, my four years in Old Dominion, you had an incredible You had an incredible record at Old Dominion. I mean, the stats are amazing on. Then you go Thio play professionally, right? And I know when you get to the professional level, I think everybody kind of has that mindset that I'm the best. I'm the one that's gonna take over. I'm gonna take charge. So when you had that level competition raise right, because you're playing against different level. I mean, the NFL's that way. You see great players in college, you go to the NFL, they don't make it. How did that change for you? Is that the same mentality? You go to your teammates, you say this is how it's gonna be every day, and we're gonna go in this thing. It's really all I knew. I was pretty simplistic at that point in my life. I knew one thing, uh, to play hard, uh, in practice and prepared to win. And it was almost that same mentality. If if you're not at this level, then you shouldn't be here. You have to at least give the best of who you are. But laziness is s o. I always thought about this. Um, you know, no excuses. No explanation is that if you're explaining, you're excuse, you don't want accountability. And I want teammates that have accountability because there were days that I stunk it up in the gym. But I had to come back and had to keep my confidence and just keep working on my game. So when you have a teammate like that, that can lift people. You've been around that in the NFL. You've seen looking Tom Brady. I mean, look at Patrick Mahomes or even...

Aaron Rodgers to freeze, uh, Lamar Jackson. They just change. They changed the dynamic in the locker room because there's an expectation of what you need to do to win winnings hard. It's really hard if if winning was easy. Everybody would do it, you know? And then the teams, even later on in life that I've coached, you know, my MBA players, you know, the Marcus you've never even been. You know, you can't even talk about a Game seven. You've never been in a Game seven and I'm not trying to be disparaging. But how are we going to get you to the playoffs So you can understand what that is like? Or, you know, coaching in the Big Three for Ice Cube and having korma Getty and continue Mobley, the Big Baby Davis, Quentin Richardson, Birdman. Only two guys in my locker room had ever won. And that was, you know, Birdman with the Heat, baby with Celtics in 2009. These are multi millionaires. The winning is hard. You have to teach. You have to master the things that take no talent. You can master those details. It will give you a stepping stone to consistency. And you know that mindset to be a champion. Well, that's why you look at Tom Brady and LeBron James. And what LeBron has done in the MBA has been amazing. Just to go from team to team build that structure and everything you were talking about about the mentality of going in and I beat my teammates up. I have that feeling that LeBron just does that Everywhere he goes, you know, and winning in basketball. To me. I mean, my sons and I watch it almost every night. And, you know, we love and watching all these young kids play and do they have the mentality to take it over in the fourth quarter? And and you watch the guys who do and watch the guys you don't? And then every time you watch LeBron, he just has that mentality and it's amazing. And that that when you were talking about yourself, that's just what it reminds me of today. Like, if I see you know that picture of you today, Um, that's that's what I That's what I envision, that you you just take control and you bring that mentality everywhere you go. But we are influencers and we have a chance. Uh, hopefully influence influence in the correct manner. But you know LeBron James, you know we're splitting hairs. You know, him or Michael Jordan. It depends on what generation I was actually happy to see the last dance because it gave one or two generations a chance to see Michael Jordan's greatness in his will to win. And Michael and I, you know, have been friends, you know, since his first year in the league. So you he had that Ali in him. He had that LeBron James mentality and Kobe mentality. So LeBron James is absolutely unbelievable what he's doing. I mean, you have 46 points. Last night I was doing the Clipper. Excuse me, the Thunder Trail Blazers game. But, you know, I'm checking to see what LeBron's doing. I mean, he's been in the league 17 years and he's been in, what, 10 Finals? He he has wear and tear on his body, but he is so good at taking care of himself mentally, physically, emotionally. He's a great guy, works his tail off, and he's gonna rewrite the record books. If he could play three more years, he might even get to play with his son. Brawny. Would that be unbelievable? That would be unbelievable. Has that ever happened in the MBA before? Uh, not that I know. You know, I think baseball didn't to Griffey's play together in Cincinnati Can senior and junior. I don't know if that's actually happened in the MBA. Uh, you know, last year before Cove, it hit. Uh, I was hoping that my son t j would be able to play for me in the big three, and obviously that got derailed. But any time you get to do something with, you know, with your kid Oh, I mean, it just doesn't happen. Actually, your kid actually has to be good or great to be able to get to that next level. So, you know, a lot of times it never materializes. So I think the big three is coming back. This you're right. Yes. Um, you know, I always take pride in telling me telling people you know, my boss is Ice Cube. He's one of the most amazing. Yes, he's intelligent. He's funny. He's a great husband. He's amazing, Father, he's a non entrepreneur. And he's given all of us an opportunity to continue doing what we love to do. And just think of it to be, like on the road for 10 Weeks with Michael Cooper and Rick Perry and Dr J. And Rick Mahorn. And you know, so many of these iconic people on get, you know, like I've known Dr Jason. So I was 14.

But, you know, sometimes we're blowing and going, and we really don't get a chance to sit down. Now we're with each other in in cities, and you can have a cup of coffee. Or you could go to chapel or whatever it is, and you just get to reconnect on a higher level people who is deeply, you know, admired throughout your career. Yeah, you talk about your boss and you know the one thing I was gonna ask. Candy Hoop, right? He's starting a whole new hoop league. So canny hoop. Hey, can you know, he messed around and had a triple double? Oh, that was it was a good day. You know his song Hey, loves thio, Play basketball? Um, O'Shea Jackson. Okay, I see Cube is just as iconic a person as you see his talents. And like I said, he gave so many people a chance to continue doing what they love. And it's it's funny to walk into an arena and see, you know, like l l cool j Hey. Hey, Nancy. I'm like I l l How you doing it, z? You know, I'm still a fan. Like I said, I'm a fan of sports and, you know, like I said, it was true. I mean, I'm a fan of what you did. I just like watching accomplished people, seeing what they did, how they did it. You know, I think you know, Kobe used to call me the Mama Mama are after I play, you know, like I said 50 because it's that mindset. And I do want to know why people are great. I deeply admire people were willing to make that sacrifice. Yeah, it is a sacrifice. You have to take a lot into account. I mean, you know, people want to talk about Tom Brady or guys that have been 40 to play in the NFL. It's not easy. You have to take care of yourself physically. Mentally. Um, you know, there was an amazing picture that came out not too long ago. It was a picture of George Blanda who played like he was the same age as Tom and George retired. And there was a picture of George Bland beside Tom Brady. You know, George looked like he was 65. Tom looked like he was 35. You know, just the difference in, like the eras and how you take care of yourself in the mentality that that that we all have about our bodies is so different now. I mean, Sonny Jorgenson used to tell me stories about halftime, of games, going out, walking through the bus is getting two beers and a smoke and having two beers and a smoke at halftime and then go back out and playing like, to me is like, what? That it really happened. He goes, Oh, yeah, all the time. You know? And there's pictures of Len Dawson smoking at halftime Mean the way our mentality has changed his leg. You play a lot longer and for you to play it 50. Tell me about that. What that was like for you, right? You're going into the locker room. You're getting dressed. Um, you know, being back in that locker room at that at that time in your life, had to be, ah, mental challenge. More than a physical one. Probably think for you. Yeah, it was because you hope your body can hang in there from all the hard work. Um, but, you know, in 1997 the first year of the W N B A. I was 39 So I was the oldest player in the league, and I trained really hard to come back. But my again, my mindset was I wanted to be the athlete that the W N b a pick to do their fitness P s A is because, you know, we live in a very visual society. So instead of going well, she's 39 years old. It would be like, Damn, I can't believe what she looks like because you and I wanted to win that that battle. She had to do X toe look like that physically. So then coming back at 39. Excuse me? 50. I just wanted to make sure that I had the proper respect for for the game. And I'm very grateful to build lamb beer, you know, for asking me. Hey, you know, you know what? I was running through the skills challenge in Washington, D. C. For the All Star game that we were doing on ESPN on. I didn't Lamb beer had come out early, and it was just sitting in the corner and I took my heels off and I just ran through the skills challenge. And when I came back, he goes, You still play? I play a little bit. He says When you turn 50 and I said July 1st He says, Do you want to make history? And I go, What do you thinking? He says, Do you wanna play? I said I would love to play. So I knew almost a year before. So, you know, I was, you know, training, working, making sure that I was physically able to do it. And then, um when that day, you know, happened, I I was throat. But, you know, I don't know if I I did it, did it more because I wanted my son t j...

...to see what his mother did. I wanted him to see that anything is possible. You have to have, you know, a lot of luck. You have to be healthy. But I wanted him thio just to see that these are obtainable balls. Get the opportunity. But you have to be ready for that moment. Yeah, no, that's amazing. And I think I mean, even if you didn't do I think you've taught your your son amazing things. And you've given them unbelievable gifts that that you know, he'll he'll take with him for the rest of his life. So when you when you get through this whole time, You know what I mean? Like, you've just had an amazing career and you get to the point where you talk about philanthropy. Where was that first moment for you? I mean, you're still you're still calling games. You're probably still going to coach three and three. I know you're you're not gonna quit, but where is that most? What was that first moment for? You said I really have to give back and look at philanthropy on how to do that. That is a great question. So in, um, in 1974 it was an article in the Long Island Press, the little newspaper in my area, and it said tryouts for us. A team. Uh, it's a three game seriously, USA women against Russia. So we went and there was a try out of the Queen's college. Now I was, you know, 14 at the time. And after, like, 67 hours of a tryout, it was like America's got talent. They put a number on you. I was one of 10 people to be selected to go to this pre camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. So they had four areas of the country. So 40 of me, we're gonna go to compete. They wanted to find out, you know, they were trying to unearth talent for the future. So I go home and I said, Mom, Mom, I can't believe this. I just made this tryout. I've been a Queens college, and I'm going to Albuquerque, New Mexico. So you're gonna have to buy an airline ticket. She goes, Nancy, I can't keep it on or put food on the table. How am I going to get you? Airline ticket? So my high school assistant principal, Barbara Sakowicz, she took a can of corn, opened it, cleaned it and then typed on a letter on an envelope. We're endeavoring to raise $300 to send Nancy to tryouts. Scots taped it. This can thus went all through my neighborhood. And they not only raised the $300 but they raised enough from my high school coach, Larry Morris, to go with me in Albuquerque. random people. Blind faith, kindness, right, Random acts of kindness. And I still have that can that amazing? I have the can with the envelope that's Scots taped on and people I don't even know who put money five or ones or changed into that can. So I as a professional athlete and I started making money, I knew that I have wanted to help people, and it za stayed with me. So that's what we do with the charity we've We've given almost $7 million. Uh, you know, in the last 10 years, um, it is amazing. It's not a, you know, at a girl moment, it's I can't believe that people have entrusted me. We've sent 70 high school seniors to college at $700,000 and we've done and I say this with humility, not with arrogance. We have 94 dream courts open in a dream court. It was my dream to be on the court as a kid because you could no longer profile me. Bully me, make fun of me. Call me Tom Boy. It was kind of a safe place for me. Probably like the football field was for you and on these courts. We have programming we have stem. Uh, we have civic engagement. We do financial literacy. We wanna make it educational. And you know what? I was stand before they were stand. I'm a critical thinker because of sports. I understand inertia. I understand the engineering of a basketball court. And more importantly, I understand math. If if I have more points than you, I win on E. Somebody asked me one day. Well, you know, how do you have stem on your court? It's like doing stem before stem was a thing. That's what we want. You know, people are hiring athletes, you know, 80% of Fortune 500 companies right now or hiring former athletes like you and me. You can yell at me. You can scream at me. I can win, I can lose. I'm wired for strategy. I'm wired to be a good teammate to make people around me...

...better. And that's what the future looks like. The business is competitive and they want competitive people in those positions. Yeah, I think one of the great things about the Dream Court is that we see today that kids are not leaving the house right. I talked to so many guests about when we were kids. We went outside, You talked about it, you went outside and you played right. That was your way to get away. We all did that right now. No matter what ball you had, no matter what was going on, you just wouldn't played and nobody cared. Everybody wanted to be involved. And I see today that's changing a lot, right with our kids inside computers and video games and everything. And I think that what you're doing is adding those things to it so that they can come out and grow not just playing sport. But we have to do those different things to get the kids out of the house today, I believe. What do you think about that? I agree. You're spot on. I think that there are amazing friendships that you have when you're a kid, you know, we play sports because it's fun, enjoyable, and we're doing it with our friends. And sometimes when you're just in the house with a control unit and you're either aiming or you're playing Xbox, I think you lose that ability on some level to have these deeper friendships. And I might sound like I'm told, you know, you know, with the Tory impact man and, you know, pinball machine. I was a pinball wizard on, and I get it. I'm not saying that these games are bad. I know that they're fun and you can compete against people. But I think there's there's balance, you know, everything is balance. If you're older and you don't like computers, you should learn how to use computers or understand that today's, uh you know, kid, uh, they talk in 280 characters or, you know, 32nd bites on Snapchat or, you know, Instagram. It's very visual. E. I just think there's a healthy balance. Uh, whatever your age, Uh, it's not a bad thing. What we're asking, we're not telling you to go back to the rotary phone and Dial were just saying, This is a really good thing used to do, you know, exploring things, type of friendship, where you're doing and you're interacting with them in a physical, healthy, competitive environment, which is sports. Yeah, and sports brings us all together in a way that I really believe that not much else can I interviewed Jeremy Douroux not too long ago. He's ah ah, lot of professor at the American University and he helped with the Rooney rule. He talks about quality and coaching, and he said, Look, I grew up in Africa. I came here at age seven and the way I helped me was sports. I was a good soccer player. I got on the field, people didn't care where I was from or who I was. We just all bonded. We're one team, and they loved winning. And I think just sports has given me so much that I love these stories for our listeners to hear because it's so important that we all come from different backgrounds. We all have a story to tell, and sports could be such a central part of all that, um, you know, and I just think that what you're doing with your charities, um, you know, I was kind of looking at that. You've had several books that you wrote. Um, is there any that you're doing? Are you working on any now? Currently or just, um, kind of the ones that you've already had out? Well, right now, the ones that I've had out But I am working on a couple of projects, uh, to have my playground and interview athletes. No, I'm having kids there. I think we have to get through co vid. Everybody has a story. Everybody had a playground, whether it's talking to Kevin Hart or Blair Underwood or you or whoever the athlete we all started somewhere, you know, before we were, you know, so big and bad. Some people famous, uh, and it brings you back to such a nen credible time, and I'll give you an example. Um, you know Billy Crystal were from he's from Atlantic City. I'm from Far Rockaway. We're about 15 minutes from each other, and Billy and I, over the years through Mohammed Ali have become very, very good friends. So he's a huge clipper fan. So the other night I was doing the Thunder Clipper game, so I text Billy and I said, Hey, okay. Super fan. What do you got? You know, tell me a little bit about your clippers. He gave me this elaborate, you know, well thought out scouting report on on how quiet and Paul George, a plan and and at the end of our thread of texting because I really miss being at the games. I miss, you know, kind of the squeaky sneakers and the competition...

...because you're not gonna believe it. And I think Billy 75 looks great. He says I go out and shoot most every day and he'll send me videos of him. I'm assuming in his backyard, just shooting hoop for all kids. I mean, it was such a joy. Play this game and I'm gonna ask you this question and then the cool in your experience, what's the locker room? The most sacred fun place, like people after the game would wait for us to come out. And we really didn't want to come out of the locker room until we were ready because it was a safe place and we had such a deep connection to our teammates. How is it for you care? Well, I would say the locker room is what you missed the most, because it's an instant family. No matter where you were from, we were all going towards the same goal. We love the locker room, but you know, we only got to play once a week and only 16 times a year and luckily, you know, if you got to go to the playoffs, you play a little bit more after the games on Sunday, you kind of just There was so much press and everything in the locker room right away. You never wanted to stay in there. But during the week after practice, there are a lot of times I didn't wanna leave the locker room until the last guy left until the people that I knew I worked hard with in practice left even going into the training room. I mean to so many stories from being in the training room, the equipment room and meeting those people in being around them and and hearing their stories. That was my favorite thing on you. Talk about having fun in the locker room. I was known as a prankster in the NFL. I love to have little jokes because I thought that levity helped in situations right that you can laugh and have a good time. And, yeah, I usually only did it with people that I knew could handle those things that had thick skin. You never want to play a joke on somebody that's thin skin, but the locker room was sacred. It was a place that I thoroughly enjoyed throughout my whole career, and it was just so much fun. So thank you for asking about that, and I'm sure you feel the same way. Um, but I never got to be there as a coach. What is the difference between being a player and a coach in the locker room? Coaches prepare you for success players determined probability and outcome. The greatest thing you can ever do is to be a player, because I could drop the best play. But it's on you to execute it and you win the game. A coach has never won a game. We've never made a shot or thrown a touchdown pass. And I love that. No, I love the fact that we're in the foxhole together, and you, I don't want to sound, um, anything other than it is. It's like parenting. Want each of your kids to excel. You want them to have their own personalities. You have to treat everybody differently. And you know some people you can kind of be a little bit more forceful in your tone. Some need coddling. Some really aren't confident and there to build them up. And but most importantly, you want them to get the best out of their career because their careers were so short by and large. And I think it, you know, for me I wanted to make my players, you know, better women, the W N B A and better men, no better fathers. Uh, but her husband's, you know, more responsibility. So it's It's a whole different mindset off of what you're looking to take from this experience. But of course, you also you wanna win together because that's something you could talk about for the rest of your life. Instant before we lost Pat Summitt. I mean, it's hard to believe that she was my teammate in 75 76 on the U. S. A team. Then I played against her for four years at Tennessee, and then I played for her internationally. I think I'm the only player that has been a teammate and played against and played for, but I learned so much about her, his person, and, you know, I deeply, you know, admired her and look up to her. So you learn things about people, and I saw how she helped and what she did to make everybody around her better. You try to take that into what you do. Yeah. So I mean, so many people were affected by Pat Summitt and, uh, in a positive way. And she brought so much to the game of basketball. One last thing I want to ask you, um, you have broken so many barriers. You've You've crashed through that ceiling. Now, this year we have ah, female vice president and Kamala Harris. How did you feel about that? Like the you know,...

...women are just becoming more empowered and just taking new roles. And I think it's so important for our country. And who we are is America to show the world that it's okay and equality should be out there. And e mean, you were one of the first to do all these things, and now you're seeing it. It broken it. Almost all kind of different levels from CEOs toe now the vice president of the United States. How do you feel about that? Well, it's it's exciting. Uh, there's a generations of of little girls that are gonna look up and say, I can do this too, because you know what she's done is nothing short of remarkable. And it's it's our job to make things normal. It'll be her job, and I'll end with this for me. You know, when I when I was coaching in the G League, Uh, like I said in 2010 11, I was invited to the White House by Barack Obama s. So I went up there with my son T J. When the president came over, you know, he was so happy. He was just really, like, happy to be around us and because he loves basketball. And he looked at me. He goes, Nancy, I've been a black man in my entire life. I just happen to be the president of the United States. You have been a white woman playing against predominantly men and black men your whole life. And now you're coaching them. You know, this is normal to you. This is normal to me. It's our job. Make it normal to everybody else. It's gonna be, um, Vice President Harris a job to make this normal. Everybody else. Wow, What an amazing story you have. And I appreciate you sharing it with us. Please let our listeners and all of our fans know where they can follow you, where they can find you and how they can connect with your charities. And hopefully they can donate. Thank you for saying that. That's very kind of you, but you can go toe, you know, Nancy Liebman, charities dot or GTA. See what we do if something hits your heart. We're always looking for great teammates to help us change kids lives. Um, and on Instagram and Twitter, it's at Nancy Lieberman. And thank you for allowing me to share. You know, some of my story with, you know, with your followers today. Yeah, thank you for coming on and joining us in the huddle. We want to thank everyone for listening to huddle up with us and joining us in the 16 31 digital news studio. We especially want to thank Nancy Lieberman for amazing story and all the incredible, um, people that she's influence. She is definitely one of the top influencers in this world. And please follow her. Go to her charities donate to her because she is making a difference for everyone. Especially little girls out there. So thank you. Nancy Really appreciate your time. Hi, This is former NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte, 16 30 one. Digital advertising is your one stop shop to promote your business and get new customers for award winning Creative to getting as online in display video O T T. Connected TV and streaming audio Go to 16 31 digital advertising dot com EP The multi format network is here to help create, produce, distribute and sell your content from or information. Send a message to info at a m p dot TV. That's info at double a. M p dot tv. You lost a job recently, and now you can't afford your mortgage payment Or do you have a rental property and your tenants aren't paying you quick cash offer can come to the rescue and pay you cash for your home immediately. Yes, sell your home and get cash all over the phone without dealing with real estate agents and risking your safety by showing your home to lukewarm buyers. You don't need to lose your home to foreclosure. If you have any equity in your home, we will buy it and give you cash within days, all in a simple over the phone and virtual process called quick cash offer. Now, before the economy gets worse, sell a home you can't afford or just don't want to get the cash you need today. 804 70711 3 800 47 07113 800 47 07113 That's 804 70 71 13 This content was brought to you by all ages. Media Programming Find more information about our MFN system at amp dot TV.

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