2009-12-11 / Sports

Women's Basketball Legend Lieberman Honored For Athletic, Charitable Achievements

Nancy Lieberman suited up in 2008 with Detroit. Nancy Lieberman suited up in 2008 with Detroit. Nancy Lieberman, a Far Rockaway High School graduate, Basketball Hall of Famer and former Olympian, was honored on Tuesday by Pro Football Hall of Famer and All Stars Helping Kids Founder Ronnie Lott for her charitable work and trailblazing efforts in women's athletics.

Lieberman, who is an analyst for ESPN and is the coach of the NBA Developmental League's Frisco, Texas franchise, received the Bill Walsh Champion of Change Award as part of the third annual Sports, Business and Philanthropy Luncheon at The Edison Ballroom in Manhattan.

"I am truly honored to be receiving the Bill Walsh Champion of Change Award," Lieberman said. "It is our responsibility to aid and support today's children in every manner possible, and the opportunity to 'ring the bell' is obviously a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

She is the first woman to receive the award. Lie - berman also rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning.

"This will be a very special day for us as we honor one of the great pioneers in leadership both on and off the court in Nancy Lieberman," Lott said.

The luncheon will bring together corporate leaders and athletes to discuss pooling their resources to improve the learning environment for children in low-income communities.

Lott founded All Stars Helping Kids in Northern California in 1989 when he was a player for the San Francisco 49ers and has since expanded the organization nationwide. Past honorees include George Mar tin, a former defensive end for the New York Giants and founder of A Journey for 9/11, raising money for the care of first responders after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

"The spirit of this award and the man it is named after, Bill Walsh, is all about honesty, fair play, innovation, duty to community and hard work," Lott said. "And those attributes are what make Nancy Lieberman the champion and leader she is today." Lieberman's college basketball career included being named a three-time All-American and winning an NCAA championship. She was a WNBA coach and General Manager for the Detroit Shock from 1998 to 2000. In 2008, Lieberman became the oldest player in WNBA history when she was signed at the age of 50 to play one game for the Shock.

Starting this year, Lieberman will become the first female to coach a men's professional basketball franchise when she leads the Frisco franchise of the NBA Developmental League. She is a motivational speaker and hosts basketball clinics for boys and girls.

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