Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lady Magic New League Lures Back Lieberman-Cline

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lady Magic New League Lures Back Lieberman-Cline

Article excerpt

Nancy Lieberman-Cline had barely been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame when a friend suggested she make a comeback.

Lieberman-Cline laughed it off. Sure, she was in pretty good shape. And the basketball skills that helped her become the first woman to play in a men's professional league were still relatively sharp. But a comeback? At 38?

The idea seemed even more ridiculous considering what she would have to give up: involvement in broadcasting, basketball clinics, motivational speaking, a sports marketing company, a weekly newspaper column. Plus time with her husband and infant son. Still, the thought kept nagging her. On Wednesday, Lieberman-Cline laced up her basketball shoes and joined Athletes in Action to prepare for a 16-game tour she hopes will help her earn a spot in the WNBA when the women's pro league backed by the NBA begins play next summer. "I know (failure) is a possibility, but I think you'll see a different, smarter version of me," she said. "I'm still as big and strong as any point guard in women's basketball. I'm at the same playing weight I was in college. I can still shoot the ball. I can still pass the ball as well as anybody." If she's successful, the player known as "Lady Magic" would be the first person to play professional basketball after being inducted into the Hall of Fame, hall officials said. "All I'm looking for is respect," Lieberman-Cline said. "I'm not looking for anybody to give me anything. I figure that if I play and do what I can do, everything else will fall in place. "To me, the most important thing is to see, in my own heart of hearts, if I can play. Number two, I want to show everybody else that I can play." Lieberman-Cline isn't jumping into this unprepared. She's spent the last six weeks training vigorously with longtime Continental Basketball Association player Ron Spivey, personal trainer Dale Kuehne and with the Collin County Community College men's basketball team. Spivey, Lieberman-Cline's teammate on the Springfield Fame of the United States Basketball League when she broke the gender barrier in 1986, pushed her through four-hour drills six days a week. …

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