Hammon makes waves in NBA

Hammon makes waves in NBA


Becky Hammon, seen in the black jersey, was just hired as the first full-time female assistant coach. Tribune News Service

Marquis Munson

The San Antonio Spurs have been one of the most successful organizations in basketball since they won their first NBA title in 1999. A lot of their success is due to a great fan base, a solid group of players led by future hall-of-famer Tim Duncan and a coaching staff led by Gregg Popovich.

Any players or coaches who are able to work with Popovich can elevate their game from one of the greatest coaches in the NBA today. Former WNBA superstar Becky Hammon is looking to do just that.

She was hired as one of the Spurs assistant coaches back in August. The hire made Hammon the first female full-time assistant coach in NBA history. She isn’t the first woman in the NBA to get an opportunity, but the first to be hired by a team.

Lisa Boyer was the first female in NBA history to serve as an assistant coach when she was a voluntary assistant for coach John Lucas and the Cavs back in 2002. Boyer wasn’t hired to a full-time position. Becky Hammon is looking to pick up where Boyer left off.

She played 16 seasons with WNBA and ranks in the top 10 all time in points, assists and games played. Her final WNBA season with the San Antonio Sliver Stars ended due to a torn ACL. During her rehabilitation, Hammon attended Spurs coaches’ meetings and practices. Her contribution to the team impressed coach Popovich and he added her to his coaching team this past summer.

Coach Popovich is known for preparing his assistant coaches for possible head coaching positions. Former assistant coaches Mike Budenholzer and Brett Brown left the team in 2013 and both accepted head coaching positions. Brown went to the Philadelphia 76ers, and Budenholzer went to coach the Atlanta Hawks and made the 
playoffs with the team last season.

There shouldn’t be any limitations when hiring for a job. It shouldn’t be about race or gender but about talent and ability to do the job. Coach Popovich said he respects Hammon’s work ethic, basketball IQ and her leadership, and it was the reason for her hiring. With the guidance of Popovich, Hammon could become the first female head coach in the future if other NBA teams see the work ethic and leadership that Popovich sees. If Hammon has head coach aspirations, she is 
definitely in the right place.