ESPN Broadcaster and Women’s Basketball Legend Takes Night Off to Become the Oldest Player to Suit Up for a WNBA Game

Detroit Shock Sign Nancy Lieberman

Auburn Hills, MI - Detroit Shock Head Coach and General Manager Bill Laimbeer announced today that the team has signed basketball Hall of Famer, former Detroit Shock head coach and current ESPN broadcaster Nancy Lieberman to a seven-day contract.

“At last year’s WNBA All-Star Game, our coaching staff watched Nancy run through the skills test. She was very impressive,” said Laimbeer. “We talked after that if the opportunity ever arose to sign her to a seven-day contract we might give her a call. There is no question she is in great shape. I approached her two weeks ago, but the timing was not right.”

In 1997, she was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA’s inaugural draft, and played one season with the Western Conference champions. At the time her stint with the Mercury earned her the oldest WNBA player honors at 39 years and 54 days old. Lieberman went on to become the general manager and head coach of the Detroit Shock, a position she held from 1998-2000. During her 17-year professional career, Lieberman averaged 15.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game.

“It is an amazing opportunity to continue to play the game I love,” said Lieberman.

Lieberman began her playing career at Old Dominion University from 1976-1980, winning two national championships. She was also a two-time Wade Trophy winner and three-time Kodak All-America selection. In the 1976 Montreal Olympics, at age 18, she became the youngest basketball player in Olympic history to earn a medal. At the professional level, she played in four basketball leagues including the WBL and WABA. In 1986, Lieberman became the first woman ever to play in a men’s professional league when she joined USBL’s Springfield Fame.

In addition, Lieberman has spent the last 27 years as both a men and women’s basketball analyst for ESPN. She was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

“Can she still compete at this level?” asked Laimbeer. “I don’t know. But I’m going to throw her in the fire.”