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The 18th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, an award given to the most outstanding role models among athletes, has announced the honorees for its 2023 award ceremony, to be held April 27th at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. Leading the night’s honorees will be the Professional Division recipients Nancy Lieberman and Joakim Noah. Nationally selected Collegiate and High School athletes will also be awarded for their commitment to athletics, academics, and citizenship. Festivities include a buffet, self-guided tour of the Hall, and a silent auction.
Nancy “Lady Magic” Lieberman is a true pioneer in women’s sports. She was recognized as one of the top 40 female athletes of the last 40 years by both ESPN and Sports Illustrated. Her extensive resume includes being the second woman in history to coach in the NBA, becoming the Assistant Coach for the Sacramento Kings in 2015. Lieberman has been a WNBA player and coach, a BIG3 Head Coach, a WNBA general manager, president of the Women’s Sports Foundation, a sports broadcaster for ABC, NBC, ESPN, and FOX Sports Southwest, a motivational speaker, and an author. In addition, she is a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, and the Hampton Roads Hall of Fame. She is also a BIG3 Champion, two-time Olympian as the youngest male or female basketball playing Silver Medalist at age 18, three-time All American, two-time collegiate national champion, and a two-time National Player of the Year at Old Dominion University. The Nancy Lieberman Award is given to the most outstanding female point guard in NCAA Division I Basketball.
Guiding youngsters and helping the disadvantaged has always been a passion for Lieberman, and through this philosophy, The Nancy Lieberman Charities was born. Education and wellness are at the heart of the many programs that the Charities provide, including educational college scholarships, basketball camps and clinics, Laptops, Back-2-School Backpacks, plus building Dream Courts across the nation which currently number 84 courts serving over 3.6 million children. In addition to Lieberman’s impressive charity work, Lieberman has supported and participated in numerous national charities throughout the country. Lieberman sits on the Board of Governors for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and The NBA Retired Players Association. She also served on the 2013 NCAA Final Four Organizing Committee in Dallas, and on the 2014 Super Bowl Steering Committee in New York.
Joakim Noah played 13 years in the NBA (nine with the Chicago Bulls). He was a two-time NBA All-Star (2013/2014), 2014 All-NBA 1st Team Center, and 2014 Defensive Player of the Year. He was the 2015 winner of the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. In 2010, along with his mother, the artist Cecilia Rodhe, Joakim started the Noah’s Arc Foundation, which aims to give youth a stronger sense of self using art and sports as tools for development. Noah’s Arc has worked extensively with youth in Chicago, as well as Joakim’s father Yannick’s hometown of Yaounde, Cameroon. The foundation continues to operate in Chicago and in West Africa to this day.
Noah officially retired from the NBA in 2021 and was named a Community Ambassador for the Chicago Bulls, partnering with the organization to effect positive change in the city of Chicago. In 2021, Joakim was one of a select group of NBA Legends who invested in NBA Africa, a group that will conduct the league’s business throughout the continent and aims to grow the sport of basketball in Africa on all levels. In 2022, Joakim was named an Ambassador for the Basketball Africa League, highlighting his vision and commitment to the African diaspora on a global level.
The 2023 Collegiate female recipient is Myah Selland of South Dakota State University. The 2023 Collegiate male recipient is Deslin Alexandre of the University of Pittsburgh. The 2023 High School female and male recipients are Abby Hughes from Glenwood High School in Glenwood, Iowa, and Cody Hagen from Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah.
Founded by Athletes for a Better World (ABW), a non-profit organization which celebrates the unselfish generosity of many participants in sports, the Wooden Cup is unique in that it is open to all athletes in all high school, college, and professional or Olympic sports. Annual nominations are open to every division and conference in college sports, and to athletes in public and private high schools across the country in partnership with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
John Wooden, who won ten national championships during the years 1964-1975 as basketball coach at UCLA, is commonly regarded as the greatest college coach of any sport who ever lived. Universally regarded as one of the finest human beings to ever grace the world of sports, his character, conduct and selfless gifts stand at the highest level by any standard. When Coach Wooden learned about Athletes for a Better World, he gave authorization to attach his name to this annual award, and he attended and addressed the inaugural event in Los Angeles in 2005. In his honor, the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is presented to six distinguished athletes: one male and one female professional or Olympic recipient, one male and one female collegiate athlete, and a male and female athlete from the American high schools, for their character and leadership both on and off the field.
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