POWERHANDZ Our Time ambassador, Nancy Lieberman, is taking the next step in her journey and it will be at the helm of a BIG3 team. The Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame member and trailblazer for women’s basketball will coach in the BIG3 in its sophomore season.
If you don’t know her background, Lieberman was an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings and has coached in the WNBA; but the move technically makes her the first women’s coach in the history of men’s professional basketball.
Lieberman will coach the Power, according to the BIG3, taking over the role that opened up when Clyde Drexler became the league’s commissioner. Drexler was known for being smooth on the court and now in the front office he is being “gliding” through and making big moves.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Lieberman and speak about the Big 3 and her career…
Where does your motivation and passion come from?
My motivation and passion comes from knowing that we can help other people that we do not know. A lot of this comes from my own personal experiences, there are a lot of young people out there and I look forward to everyday and getting up and knowing that something that I do our say can inspire them to be better than they ever thought they could be.
What does it mean for you to have this opportunity with the Big 3?
To be a part of the Big 3 is absolutely amazing, I’m very thankful to Ice Cube, Jeff and Amy for their consideration of me to be the first female head coach in a men’s pro league. Cube is a cultural changer, he is about diversity and about inclusion and about opportunity and you can’t get to the next level of your life without it. You need people who are willing to give you some of that opportunity and he is. I know so many of the guys who are playing in the Big 3 and I am very close with so many of the coaches and Hall Of Famers and some of the greats of the game to be able to go 10 weeks in a row to go out with Dr. J and Clyde Drexler and my Hall of Fame class brother George Gervin Rick Barry, Gary Payton, it’s unbelievable to be able to do this and be around people that you’ve known a good part of your life.
Will your coaching style change since it is 3-on-3 basketball?
In the Big 3 it will be physical, fierce and competitive, these are professional players and they know exactly what they have to do. My job is to make sure that we have the right people in the game at the right time and that we are organized and that we are staying on top of our game but 3 on 3 is a beautiful IQ, a high strategic part of basketball. It is going to be a lot of fun for me to coach and we’re going to have to take advantage of our opportunities to close out these games.
As a coach, what does it take for players to continue to excel?
When you are coaching it takes a lot for players to continue to excel, they have to stay in shape. They are older athletes; you just can’t walk on without playing training, lifting running. If you do not train and work hard then you are not going to make the team these are the greatest athlete’s in the world, they are highly competitive and if they sense there is a weakness, like you are overweight, you haven’t worked out they are going to expose it so you have to come ready to play and you have to have a fierce competitive mentally. You have to take care of your body, we are nothing without our body.
What does the Big 3 League truly represent in the basketball community?
For me the Big 3 League represents opportunity. It’s how we play the game on the purist level, before we played 5 on 5 it was 1 on 1, 2 on 2 and 3 on 3 that brought teamwork and strategy to the game. That’s actually what the NBA are on the court but in reality it’s 3 on 3 on one side of the floor and 2 on 3 on the other side of the floor and it’s about understanding what is in front of you. If you can’t get people to help out on you then somebody else is open, you’re just trying to create mismatches on the basketball court. When kids see this they want to become that and they watch these players on TV and they see their greatness and it brings people together when you walk into an arena and white people, black people, Latinos, Asian’s, it’s a melting pot of life and everyone comes together in the name of sports an you just get a chance to see people collaborating. Then you take that to your community and you become an influencer and then you can collaborate.
What advice would you give to players about training?
My advice to my players and other players in the league about training is that do your work. You are in charge of you physical ability you are in control of how hard you train, how you eat, the training equipment that you have. I want our guys to be using Powerhandz. I want them to be working on their game with that, I want them to have every training tool available to them to take their game to a level that they can compete for a championship in the Big3.
Will your Big 3 players be training out with POWERHANDZ?
My players will be training with Powerhandz I am asking Danyel if she will send me 6 pairs of gloves in large sizes for my guys and I will get those shipped out to them, the minute she gives me the ok.
What is one thing that you tell all of your players?
What I tell my players is that you have to be ready, you have to be alert, and it’s a competition. We also have kids and families in the arena so we have to be mindful of the brand of the league and what we are trying to convey to people that watch us. Our games are going to be live on TV. We are going to have a lot of community activity with the juniors, I believe it’s called Young 3, headed up from Jerome Williams and nobody better to share his part in wisdom than the “Junk Yard Dog” himself. It’s going to be an exciting time, I am really happy about being a part of this amazing league with great men that still love the game we grew up playing and I have much love and honor to Ice Cube for giving us all the opportunity.
Nancy is staying busy this summer. Beyond coaching in the Big 3 she will also be hosting baseball camps throughout the summer. The POWERHANDZ team is excited to participate in the Nancy Lieberman Basketball Camps.
These camps are for girls and boys, ages 5-17 and will get a first-hand insight on what being a champion is all about. The campers learn all facets of the game and receive guidance on how to improve strength, fundamentals and techniques from Coach Nancy Lieberman. Her exceptional team will provide instruction on how to be champions on and off the court! REGISTER HERE