The woman who revolutionized the game as a player has done the same as the guiding force behind one of the WNBA’s showpiece franchises – a three-time Eastern Conference Champion with appearances in four WNBA Finals.
With 13 WNBA seasons behind her, Blazejowski, known as Blaze, has shepherded the growth of the “Liberty experience” – a unique combination of competitive basketball and a fun-filled in-arena atmosphere – while remaining focused on one goal: bringing the WNBA Championship to New York.
Assembling the team on the court, of course, is just one of Blaze’s numerous responsibilities. From keeping a close eye on game presentation to overseeing the team’s marketing and merchandising efforts – including the Liberty and Madison Square Garden’s successful hosting of the inaugural WNBA All-Star Game in 1999, again in 2003 and 2006, and The Game at Radio City Music Hall in 2004 amd the Liberty Outdoor Classic in 2008 – exceeding fans expectations is always prominent in her mind.
Blaze’s professional career included a 10-year stint with Adidas (1980-90), where she first developed and implemented marketing initiatives for women’s sports programs. Her savvy business sense and notable background led her to the NBA league office where she served as the league’s Director of Licensing (1990-95) and Director of Women’s Basketball Programs (1995-96). Blaze was named the newly formed WNBA’s Director of Basketball Development before joining the Liberty as vice president and general manager on January 7, 1997. She was promoted to senior vice president and general manager in 2000, and most recently was named president and general manager in 2008.
During her playing career, Blazejowski earned Kodak All-American honors (1976, 1977, 1978) at Montclair State and was the first winner of the Margaret Wade Trophy as Women’s College Player of the Year (1977-78). Blazejowski’s on-court heroics earned her enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1994, an honor she currently shares with only 18 other women. In 1999, she was also inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, along with 26 other pioneers of the women’s game.
On September 18, 2003, Blaze reached yet another milestone when she was inducted into the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame for her 52-point effort against Queens College on March 6, 1977 - which still stands as the men's and women's collegiate scoring record in the current Madison Square Garden. “And remember,” says Blaze with a smile, “no three-pointers back then, either!”
Blazejowski resides in Nutley, NJ, with her family: Joyce, Lainey and Luke.