The Question of Whether a Woman Has Ever Played in the NBA

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the most popular and highly visible sports leagues in the world, and it is largely dominated by male players. But, is it possible that a woman has ever played in the NBA? This article will answer this question and explore the history of women in the NBA and the prospects for the future.

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Women’s Basketball Pre-NBA

Before the NBA, women’s basketball was already a popular sport. Women’s basketball was first played in the late 1800s with teams often playing in front of large crowds. In the 1920s, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) formed the first professional women’s basketball league. This league would go on to be one of the most successful women’s basketball leagues until the NBA was created in 1946.

The First Female NBA Player

The first female player to ever appear in an NBA game was Nancy Lieberman, who played for the Dallas Mavericks in a 1979 summer league game. Lieberman, who had previously been an AAU champion and an Olympic silver medalist, was the first woman to ever play in an NBA game. However, she was not signed to a contract and the team was unable to sign her to a contract due to NBA rules.

Women in the NBA Today

Despite the fact that women are still not allowed to play in the NBA, they are making strides in the coaching and management side of the game. As of 2019, there are six female assistant coaches in the NBA, and two female referees. There are also a number of female executives in the league, including Michele Roberts, the executive director of the NBA Players Association.

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The Future of Women in the NBA

Despite the fact that a woman has yet to play in the NBA, the league is making progress when it comes to increasing the number of women involved in the game. The NBA has an initiative called the WNBA-NBA Mentorship Program, which provides mentorship and leadership development opportunities for female coaches and executives. The NBA also recently announced the NBA Women’s Advisory Council, which will be made up of 13 current and former players, coaches, and executives.


The question of whether a woman has ever played in the NBA is a complex one. While a woman has never been signed to a contract with an NBA team, Nancy Lieberman did become the first woman to appear in an NBA game in 1979. And today, there are more and more women involved in the game, both as players and in coaching and management roles. The future of women in the NBA looks promising, and the league is making strides to increase the number of women involved in the game.