All Hail Spoon!

NEW YORK, August 7, 2006 -- Sportswriter Heywood Hale Broun once said "Sports don't build character; they reveal it" and a truer word cannot be said about Liberty legend Teresa Weatherspoon, who was feted with her own night at Saturday's game against the Chicago Sky.

As a player, Teresa Weatherspoon was among the best in the WNBA. She was named to the All-WNBA Second team four times and was the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year twice. A five-time All-Star, she led the Liberty to four WNBA Championship Finals. Her upbeat personality, enthusiastic "can do" attitude and love for the community set her apart from others.

Teresa was an inspiration for countless girls, both young and old, and the crowd stood and loudly cheered "Spoon! Spoon! Spoon!" as she headed to center court for the special halftime ceremony. To start the night of special presentations, Tijah Forte, an 11-year old basketball player from Brooklyn also known as "Little T-Spoon", presented Teresa with a Cheering For Children Solid Ground tile. Teresa met Little Spoon at a community appearance last year and helped inspire Tijah and her team on to their league championship.

Teresa is best known for two things: making her teammates better players with unselfish play and incredible leadership along with "The Shot," a half-court toss with 0.4 seconds left that gave the Liberty a 68-67 win over the Houston Comets, tying the best-of-three WNBA championship series in 1999. To represent those characteristics, the current Liberty players presented Spoon with a photo montage that captured the passion and emotion that Teresa brought to the court every game. Then, Becky Hammon along with Liberty legends Sue Wicks and Kym Hampton took the court next to present a one-of-a-kind gift: an official WNBA backboard (similar to the one she used to hit that famous half-court shot) engraved with the names of every Liberty player that Spoon played with during her seven seasons in New York.

The next presentation was made by Liberty SVP and GM Carol Blazejowski, who presented Spoon with a plaque to induct her into the prestigious Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame. Spoon is only the 56th person to have been granted that honor in the 127 year history of Madison Square Garden. Blaze then walked Spoon to an area on the court next to the sideline to unveil Spoon's name and number that will always be a permanent part of the Liberty court. Spoon is the first member named to the Liberty Courtside Honor Roll.

The Garden crowd gave a standing ovation to Spoon, the heart and soul of the franchise for seven years, and she tearfully acknowledged how much she enjoyed her time in New York and playing in front of the Liberty fans. Playing in the WNBA was a dream come true for her and she said, "To think back in the beginning, I was just playing the game for the love of the game and not for someone to honor me. To think that you're honored and appreciated in this way, it brings nothing but joy to me and my family."

After the halftime ceremony, the Liberty went on to add one last honor to Spoon on her special night by defeating the Sky, 80-69.