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Spurs Hire Becky Hammon as Assistant Coach

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Hammon becomes the first female coach in the NBA history after a storied WNBA career.

Spurs Hire Becky Hammon as Assistant Coach

The San Antonio Spurs are the best franchise in the NBA for a number of reasons, and you can add one more to the list: The team named Becky Hammon an Assistant Coach today.

With the move, Becky Hammon becomes the first female assistant coach in NBA History. The move comes after Nancy Lieberman became a head coach in the NBA D-League and where Natalie Nakase served as an assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers during this year's NBA Summer League. Hammon is retiring from a storied WNBA career with the San Antonio Silver Stars and New York Liberty, and she is stepping right into the NBA coaching world.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich learned that Hammon was interested in coaching, so he invited her to practices last season. She impressed enough during the season for Pop to offer a full-time position. Here are Popovich's thoughts from the article linked earlier:

“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff,” said Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich. “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.”

...Popovich told Inside Stuff that he expected Hammon to become a coach after her playing days.

"She's been perfect," Popovich said then. "She knows when to talk, and she knows when to shut up. That's as simple as you can put it, and a lot of people don't figure that out. … She knows how to do it, and our players really respond to her. She's just a natural."

During her 16 seasons in the WNBA, Hammon has been one of the league's brightest stars. She entered the league in 1999 with the New York Liberty and became their star player after a few years. She was traded to the San Antonio Silver Stars in 2007, where her star really took off. She put up some ridiculous stats, with her best season coming in 2009: 19.5 points, 5.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals on 45% shooting from the field. That culminated in her second 1st Team All-WNBA selection. For her career, Hammon has averaged 13.1 points and 3.8 assists, and she is seventh all-time in scoring (5,809), sixth all-time in games played (445), fourth all-time in assists (1,687), 10th all-time in steals (488) and second all-time in three-point field goals (824).

Hammon's hiring should hopefully pave the way for more intelligent basketball minds to make their way to NBA benches, regardless of gender. I've spent a good part of my life involved in the women's game. My father coached women's basketball for decades, I volunteered as a women's coach when I was at school and I became involved with the women's team at UMass. I've interacted with a lot of smart people in all of these areas that would easily be able to succeed if given the opportunity. Hammon was always one of my favorite female players to watch, and she's in an incredible position to succeed with the Spurs and open up new doors for aspiring female coaches everywhere.

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