Nancy Lieberman Challenges Barack Obama to a Basketball Game

7 years ago

Lately there has been a lot of talk about the White House being a big old boys club. Sure, we know that about half of the Obama staff is made up of women so why all the fuss? Oddly, a lot of it has to do with sports.

Well, we know that back in March, President Obama filled out his men's bracket for the NCAA Tournament and he didn't get involved in the Women's Tournament. Okay, that is vaguely inequitable but until this year I had never filled out a women's bracket either. They were too hard to find. Let's not forget that President Obama played 23 rounds of golf before including a female in his foursome.

Here is the new problem:

This time he is getting grief for an all-male congressional basketball game. I heard about this but didn't pay much attention to it. The man already disappointed me with the bracket thing and the talking out of two sides of his mouth as he extolled the presence of female athletes on ESPN. So am I surprised that the game was all guys? Nope. 'Cause I am pretty sure that there were not that many women jumping to get into that game. Even if they are basketball players, it's pretty much a no-win situation for them. What if they are better than all the other congresspeople? What if they are worse? What if they tear an ACL during the game?

- After Atalanta

Uh oh. That isn't good. An all-male congressional basketball game? That sounds terrible.

President Obama says that this is silly. The guest list was reviewed and approved by males and females alike on his staff. So everything is okay?

I'm not so sure, but Lauren Taylor doesn't think that the problem lies with the President.

I have a difficult time believing that any female White House staffer who showed up dressed to play ball would be turned away by the President.  He’s a husband who continues to date, adore, and showcase his ‘buff’ wife and a father to two burgeoning female athletes. Oh, and by the way, he just won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in bridging divided groups. There is simply no reason to suspect he’s being prohibitive when it comes to women in any kind sports – informal or otherwise.

So if we don’t get to blame the President for the lack of women in b-ball, who can we blame? Hate to say it ladies, but it’s no one but ourselves. As long as we women wait for a special invitation, we’ll be missing the action. If the reality is that deals and decisions get made out there, then we better start working on our finger rolls and jump shots.

Interesting... Lauren has a really good point. But what women is going to do it? Who is going to be the one to jump up and say "put me in coach".

I'll tell you who. Nancy Lieberman.

Ms. Lieberman has challenged Barack Obama to a pick up game. I have sung the praises of Nancy Lieberman in the past and here I go again. Listen to what she wrote on

That’s right. Today I am declaring myself eligible for the presidential pickup games. Please allow me to present my credentials. I am no stranger to being on court with the boys. In high school and college, I played pickup with guys at Harlem’s Rucker courts and also played in summer leagues with NBA stars from the L.A. Lakers and the Utah Jazz (and I’m still pals with those teams’ then-coaches, Pat Riley and Frank Layden). I was also the first and only female player in the all-male United States Basketball League. I’ve played against the most famous team in the world, the Harlem Globetrotters. I'm fortunate to have been an Olympic silver medalist in women's basketball, and honored to be a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Plus, your right-hand man Reggie Love, the former college basketball star who plays in your games, can vouch for my reputation as a former college player who still has serious skills.

Isn't she amazing? She goes on to say:

I would be honored to get on the court with you, Mr. President, not just to play but also to help you make change. It's what I've done my whole life as a woman in sports and it's what you've done your whole life as a politician and now as our Commander in Chief.

Warmest regards to you, the First Lady and your daughters. If invited to play at the White House, I solemnly vow to protect, preserve and defend the basketball until my team wins. Let me know if I've got a game.

I love how she combines respect, progress and trash talk all in one letter.  I really hope he accepts. I think it would be good PR for the Obama administration and I think it would be huge for women's basketball on all levels.

You know what else? I think she could take him.


Contributing Editor Sarah Braesch also blogs at Sarah and the Goon Squad, Draft Day Suit and MamaPop.



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