The WNBA may have just arrived in Dallas, but the city has a rich, albeit brief, history of women’s basketball.
The Dallas Diamonds made their debut in the short-lived Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL) in November 1979. Playing at the Dallas Convention Center, the team finished last in the league. But before the Diamonds’ second season, Nancy Lieberman came to town. Nicknamed “Lady Magic” for her flashy style, the Old Dominion All-American led the Diamonds to the best record in the regular season (27-9) and just short of a championship, losing to the Nebraska Wranglers. Attendance more than doubled at the Diamonds’ new home, SMU’s Moody Coliseum, and the future looked bright.
But the league folded in 1981.
The Dallas Diamonds were resurrected in 1984 in the Women’s American Basketball Association (WABA). Again led by Lieberman, the Diamonds went 19-2 and won the league title. The WABA, unfortunately, was even shorter-lived than the WBL. That was its only season.
Lieberman stayed in Dallas. In 2004, she coached the Dallas Fury to a championship in the now-defunct National Women’s Basketball League. The Fury made it back to the league championship game the following year. They lost, the franchise moved to San Francisco, and that was that. Until now.
Fun Fact No. 1: D Magazine senior editor Nancy Nichols was the Diamonds’ general manager.
Fun Fact No. 2: Pam McGee, who played on the second iteration of the Diamonds, is the mother of Mavericks backup big man JaVale McGee.
Fun Fact No. 3: The Diamonds’ program was titled The Diamond Appraisal, without question the best name for a team program in the history of professional sports.