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Hitting a High Note on the Hardcourt

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCDFW.com
    A little one on one with basketball great Nancy Lieberman.

    Nancy Lieberman has as much drive today as she did when she decided what she wanted to do with her life almost 40 years ago: Play professional basketball.

    "I could have been a casualty of my environment growing up in New York," said Lieberman. "I'm a girl who was playing basketball in the '60s. That qualified me as a tomboy."

    Lieberman Pays it Forward

    [DFW] Lieberman Pays it Forward
    Basketball great Nancy Lieberman sits down in the Last Call to talk food, family and basketball. (Published Sunday, Aug 2, 2009)

    Lieberman credits Muhammad Ali with being her inspiration as a young girl.

    When she was just 10 years old, she saw him on television, and her life was changed forever.

    "Muhammad Ali changed my life," said Lieberman. "He hit my heart. He told me what I could be. Everybody else was telling me what I could not be, and Muhammad Ali was saying you could be anything you want to be."

    Lieberman said her mom wasn't on board at first, but that didn't stop her.

    "I just got up at 10 years old and put my hands on my hips," said Lieberman. "I walked out of the room, and I stopped and turned around and said, 'You are going to have to get used to it because I'm going to be the greatest basketball player of all time."'

    In 1974, Lieberman made a name for herself after scoring a spot on the United States' National Team.

    Just a year later, she brought home a gold and silver medal from both the World Championships and the Pan American Games.

    But she didn't stop there. Lieberman was also the youngest basketball player to compete in the Olympic Games.

    She began her professional career with the Dallas Diamonds in 1981 and has since been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. She is the only woman to have ever played in an all-male league.

    Lieberman has also coached in the WNBA and is a motivational speaker and a television broadcaster. She has even found time to write a book or two.

    "I think as you get older, you start looking for what your legacy is going to be," said Lieberman.

    In addition to being a mother, Lieberman's passion these days is her basketball camp.

    "It's really kind of cool. It's year 26, and we sell out every session of every camp, because we really pride ourselves on interaction with the kids," said Lieberman.

    The camps are held in North Texas, Detroit and Phoenix.

    "Sports are healthy -- we're going to build your confidence; we're going to build your self-esteem," said Lieberman.

    And anyone can attend.

    "I think, at the end of the day, it won't be about me playing basketball," said Lieberman. "(The camps) will be my platform. It's about what can I do for kids -- how can I help people aspire to be more than they thought they could be?"

    Click here to check out Nancy Lieberman's basketball camps.

    We caught up with Lieberman at Maggiano's in Plano, click here to get the recipe for"Nancy's Chicken."

    And for more information on James Chippendale and his Love, Hope, Strength Foundation, click here.