team, part of the league's first expansion
. They are one of the worst teams in the WNBA, but their dreadful
on-court play has been eclipsed by scandal
. Out of the frying pan and into the fire
, as it were.
First, let's talk about basketball. The Shock suck
. Since a 17-13 finish in their first season, the Shock's record has worsened every year 15-17 (1999
), 14-18 (2000
), 10-22 (2001
). They keep on losing their star players: Rebounder Cindy Brown
retired after injuries and Jennifer Azzi
was traded to the Utah Starzz
in the 2000 preseason
. Edwina Brown
is probably the only "name" player left, and she ain't
much of a name. This team won't crack the playoffs for a while.
Now, onto the scandal: In September of 2001, Sports Illustrated
reported that Shock players were quite upset about a romantic relationship
between coach Nancy Lieberman
and point guard Anna DeForge
during the 2000 season.
Lieberman was dismissed as coach in the 2000-01 offseason, and it's quite likely that the rumored relationship caused that. According to SI
, other players on the team complained to Shock president Tom Wilson
that the relationship was unprofessional. Even worse was the fact that DeForge wasn't a very good point guard
yet continued to start. (Azzi, the player traded in the 2000 preseason, was
a tremendous point guard.)
I don't know if Lieberman and DeForge were actually dating, but in this situation, you're guilty by suspicion
. A coach
has to be above the reproach
of her players, or else there's mutiny
. Given that there have been out-of-the-closet lesbians
in professional basketball, it's not appropriate
for a coach to live with her point guard for a month, as Lieberman admitted to doing. (She also said that there was no sex
going on, which isn't entirely believable
Anyway ... Lieberman's gone and DeForge is gone. But the Shock still stink.
Lieberman's replacement, Greg Williams
, was fired after starting the 2002 season 0-10. The new coach is former Detroit Piston NBA
player Bill Laimbeer
Editor's note: The Shock won the WNBA title in 2003, 2006 and 2008, then moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma and became the Tulsa Shock in 2009.