Becky Hammon, 16-year WNBA veteran, will join the San Antonio Spurs as the first full-time female assistant coach in the history of the NBA. The announcement was made during Monday’s press conference that she will retire from the San Antonio Stars at the end of this season and join the defending NBA champions soon after.
Hammon is not the first female assistant coach in the NBA’s history, but she is the first to be paid. Lisa Boyer was an assistant on John Lucas’ coaching staff in 2002 with the Cavaliers, but was a “volunteer assistant coach” while also coaching for Cleveland’s WNBA franchise, the Rockers. Hammon’s contract details have not yet been disclosed.
Boyer may not be so well known as she did not travel with the team and could not sit on the bench during games. Before you feminists get all pissed off, this was during a time when only two assistant coaches were allowed on the bench during games.
Hammon replaces Mike Budenholzer and Brett Brown, two former Spurs’ assistant coaches under Gregg Popovich who took head coaching jobs last season for the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers respectively. Based off her “basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills,” Popovich insists hiring Hammon was surely no publicity stunt as she will be “a great benefit to the Spurs.”
Hammon has already familiarized herself at Spurs’ practice this year, she is already respected by the players and the rest of the coaching staff. The six-time WNBA All-Star and three-time All-American honors recipient at Colorado State University has all the on-court experience she needs, but asserted at yesterday’s press conference that she’s “ready to be treated as just any other assistant coach.”
With this hiring, Becky Hammon is well on her way to greater things; perhaps the first female head coach in NBA history?