A woman has joined the NBA’s coaching ranks.
It was announced Aug. 5 that the San Antonio Spurs have hired Becky Hammon as a member of Gregg Popovich’s assistant coaching staff. Hammon, a 37-year-old native of South Dakota, will be retiring from the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars after 16 years following the WNBA season. She is now the first full-time female coach in NBA history and the first full-time female coach in any of the four major American professional sports leagues.
“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said of Hammon. “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.”
It is fitting that the reigning NBA champs would be the first organization to break this bit of ground: The Spurs have been known to take wise, calculated risks — from aggressively scouting and drafting foreign prospects to holding on to “aging” superstars when other franchises would have gone into rebuilding mode. The hiring of Hammon fits with their history of visionary but levelheaded decision-making.
“Nothing in my life has really ever been easy. I’ve always been someone who did it uphill,” Hammon said. “I’m up for challenges. I’m up for being outside the box, making tough decisions and challenges. … And I’m a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. Throw those all in there and this was the perfect challenge and opportunity.”
Hammon is a six-time WNBA All-Star who played for the Stars and the New York Liberty over the course of her career. She was named one of the greatest WNBA players of all time back in 2011.