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OPINION

Female basketball legend speaks out about Augusta and the legacy of exclusion

I am a woman who deeply respects men. Men have been extraordinary to me in my career. And any major job that I've ever had in my career has been championed by men at the highest level. Given all of that, there was, obviously, deep disappointment over the Augusta controversy in the past and the club's decision not to allow women as members.

I do understand that it's free enterprise. I know that Augusta is a boys' club and it's their right to exclude people. But I always wondered -- what does it say about the men who supported that policy? Simply put, what does it say about you as a human being?

We are all are servants. Life is very temporal, as are creature comforts. What I do know about life, no matter what we've done, is that we're not taking our stuff with us. When it's all said and done all we have is a legacy. It's the hyphen between your date of birth and your date of death, that tells me what you've DONE in life. THAT is your legacy.  Your legacy is about what you've left for others. And if you're one of the men at Augusta who has denied women or African Americans access to your club in the past, well, what a horrible legacy you've left.  A legacy that means you won't be remembered for your good works. That you're being remembered for holding people back. What a terrible thing to be remembered for.  

Augusta is always going to be a club of ego. Members there are saying to the world, "I am going to determine if you get to play on my course -- or not."  And here we are applauding them for who gets to play. Isn't that crazy?

Yet, when the announcement came about Augusta's decision on Monday to admit two women to the club, I didn't look back. I'm happy for Darla Moore and Condoleezza Rice.

It's just that I see this differently. I'm not here to totally bash the lack of a brain trust at Augusta. I am just talking about pure human kindness, equality and putting people first. My philosophy in life is, if you're a better ME, we're going to be a better WE. And if you're not a good ME, because you're selfish, egotistical and arrogant, is that really how you want to shape the views of the people who are around you?  

So as I tweeted yesterday, congrats to Darla and Condoleezza that I'd love to be in their foursome. I'm not mad at Augusta, I just laugh at people like that. I've got to look at these people, they must live miserable lives thinking how to keep all their toys to themselves and not share their all blessings with others. Isn't it more fun to give than to get?

Arrogance is not confidence, humility is. We should never lose sight of that.

On a bright note, it is wonderful that we will have estrogen making divots on the Augusta golf course. Yes, it's historic. Rosa Parks told the world, she wasn't going to sit in that seat, women finally have the right to vote.  Monday's announcement is good. It's another step in the right direction. One small step for man (Augusta), one giant leap for women (and mankind).  We'll take it as a positive. We'll move forward. We'll show class and dignity. And we will make this a positive move for both men and women.  

Nancy Lieberman is a Basketball Hall of Famer, assistant General Manager to the Texas legends and a mom.