The New York Liberty has been very fortunate to have notable names placed on their roster. Key players have helped to shape the league and program to what it is today.
The beginning players set the bar and two of these players coincidently happen to be some of the most famous in the WNBA.
Rebecca Lobo is one of the best-known female basketball players of all time. She continues to remain in the spotlight through being an analyst and reporter for ESPN.
Lobo continues to be active in the sports field and her experience and knowledge allows her to give insight that others wouldn’t. 1996 saw Lobo as the youngest member of the US Women’s Basketball Team at the Olympic games in Atlanta, of which they won the gold medal. While in the WNBA, Lobo was one of the first two players to sign with the WNBA for its inaugural season.
She signed with the New York Liberty and stayed there for 5 seasons before retiring with the Connecticut Sun in 2003. Before the WNBA, Lobo played with the University of Connecticut, where she won numerous awards including the Naismith and Wade Player of the Year awards.
She also earned the Honda-Broderick Cup as Woman Athlete of the Year, an ESPY for Women’s College Basketball Performer of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year, and Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press. Lobo will forever be missed on the court but her legacy will live on.
In addition to Lobo, Teresa Weatherspoon was the second player to sign with the WNBA for its inaugural season. She signed with the New York Liberty and played there until the 2003 season. Weatherspoon was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award in her first two seasons in the WNBA with the Liberty. She is the No. 2 all-time career leader in assists for the WNBA and helped lead the Liberty to the WNBA finals in 1997. Weatherspoon has been talented enough to start in the first four WNBA All-Star Games from 1999-2003.
Up until 2003, she was also the only player to start every game since being in the WNBA. Weatherspoon is best known for her performance in the 1999 finals game against the Houston Comets. She made a half-court buzzer beating shot to send the series into game 3 and one more chance at winning the Championship.
After the 2003 season, Weatherspoon didn’t return to the Liberty, but was instead signed to the Los Angeles Sparks. She announced her retirement after playing with the Sparks for one season.
Before playing in the WNBA, Weatherspoon played college basketball at Louisiana Tech. During her senior season, she led her team to the NCAA National Title, was named a Kodak All American twice, and given the Wade Trophy. Currently Weatherspoon is the Head Coach at her alma mater and was given the 2010 Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year award.