By Dr. Harvey Frommer
The recent good news that
Nancy Lieberman was hired by the
Sacramento Kings as the National Basketball Association’s second Female
Assistant coach, joining Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs, was long
Long ago and far away I
spent a great deal of time with Nancy Lieberman, interviewing her,
socializing with her, gathering all the material for BASKETBALL MY WAY,
a book about her life and times and basketball insights.
The hardcover work was
published in 1982 by Scribners. Since then, much has happened to Nancy
and to me.
Dubbed “Lady Magic,” by her
adoring fans, Nancy was big in Far Rockaway where she hailed from, in
the Five Towns of Long Island, where I lived, and all over the place.
And why not? She already had
a superstar resume and a flair. She played for Team USA in Montreal at
the 1976 Summer Games, the first year the Olympics included women’s
basketball. At Old Dominion University, she set records and pushed the
Lady Monarchs to two back- to-back national titles. Nancy was a three
time three-time All-American, two-time winner of the Wade Trophy as the
top women’s player.
Working with her on
BASKETBALL MY WAY gave me some prestige in the neighborhood. It was also
a pleasure and a kind of family affair. My mother-in-law of blessed
memory became enamored with Nancy, made her little delicious treats to
keep her energy up as we spent long hours interviewing for the book in
progress. My wife Myrna also got into the act and earned her credit as
co-author. I spent time with Nancy’s mom who was so proud of what her
talented daughter had accomplished.
Basketball My Way, a hardcover book priced at $12.95,
began in Nancy’s voice: “I was born on the first day of July in 1958.
Contrary to some stories you may have heard, I wasn’t born with a
basketball in my hand, and I didn’t take my first few steps while
dribbling a ball.”
Since Nancy’s time, I have written other sports
celebrities books with Red Holzman, Nolan Ryan, Tony Dorsett, Don Strock.
But that first one back in a simpler time for me and for Nancy, still
stays with me and has a kind of poignancy for the purity of the
I still have my signed copy of the book from “Lady
Magic.” The inscription reads: “Harvey, I look forward to working on
another book with you. Thanks for everything. Love, Nancy”
COMING IN SEPTEMBER: Nominated for the Pen Center Awards
in the literary sports writing category, Harvey
Frommer’s WHEN IT WAS JUST A GAME: REMEMBERING THE
FIRST SUPER BOWL tells the fascinating story of the
ground-breaking AFL–NFL World Championship Football game
January 15, 1967: Packers vs. Chiefs. Book features oral
history from many who were there and archival
photographs & drawings. (Bookings in progress)
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