16-year WNBA star, Becky Hammon, is the new assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs and is their team’s first ever female coach. It is an exciting addition for the recent NBA title winners and coach Gregg Popovich couldn’t be more welcoming to her presence by his side on the bench. Popovich said:
“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff. Having observed her working with our team this past season, I’m confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs.”
Hammon will begin her duties once she retires upon completing her 8th and final season with WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars. She will become only the second female coach in NBA’s history after Lisa Boyer, a volunteer assistant on John Lucas’ Cleveland Cavaliers’ staff in 2001-02. More importantly, she will become “the first full-time female coach on an NBA bench.” Exciting news for the 37-year-old who remained humble and said:
“I’ll be doing the same things that all the other assistants will be doing. I would come with my coffee and come to coaches’ meetings. Mostly, I would just listen. But every now and then, Pop would ask me a question and I’d give my input on what I was seeing. I’m just so grateful that they value my experiences as a basketball player; throw out the gender part of it.”
The opportunity originated after Hammon tore her ACL in 2013. During her rehab, Hammon asked her coach if she could join in on the Spurs team meetings and film sessions for what she described as a coaching internship. It was a chance for Hammon to learn more than what she already knew about playing basketball and the Spurs’ secret to success.
After she recovered from her injury she already knew she wanted to retire and it was just a matter of time. She was considering two career paths, coaching or broadcasting, although she imagined herself being court side as a coach.
Hammon has been voted top 15 WNBA players in history and has the drive to take her basketball knowledge to the NBA. Popovich and herself are excited for the upcoming season and look forward to learning from one another. After Hammon heard the remarkable news during Tuesday’s announcement, the spotlight was entirely on her and her name was criticized by some. Hammon answered the questions of many by saying:
“People ask me all the time, ‘Will there ever be a woman player in the NBA? To be honest, no. There’s differences. The guys are too big and too strong; that’s just the way it is. But when it comes to things of the mind — game-planning, coaching — there’s no reason why women can’t be in the mix or shouldn’t be in the mix.”
She could either be a charitable addition to the Spurs or become an example to the rest of the NBA. With coach Popovich behind her, I beg to differ it will be a mistake. The terms of her contract with the Spurs has yet to be announced.
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