The San Antonio Spurs continue to be pioneers the modern NBA.
This afternoon, a day after the San Antonio Stars announced the impending retirement ceremony for WNBA veteran Becky Hammon upon completing her 16th season, the five-time NBA champion Spurs trumped that news with something more historic and nearly unprecedented.
They hired Hammon as their newest assistant coach, joining European legend Ettore Messina who was hired earlier this offseason.
Hammon, who had expressed a desire to coach when her playing days would be over, spent time with the Spurs this past season watching head coach Gregg Popovich work up close. He commended her basketball acumen, her dedication and her involvement in the community.
She wants to coach after she’s done. Because she’s not just a good player but a smart player, a great person in our community, just somebody that we all respect so much, we gave her the opportunity to sit with us during the year. She came to our coaches’ meetings, argued with us. She did everything.”
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) August 5, 2014
— WNBA (@WNBA) August 5, 2014
There likely isn’t a better coach or organization that one could hope to learn from than Popovich and the Spurs.
Hammon isn’t the first female assistant in the NBA, as Lisa Boyer once served under John Lucas in Cleveland during the 2001-02 season. She, however, maintained duties as an assistant with the WNBA Cleveland Rockers and did not travel with the Cavaliers on road trips.
This is where the Spurs are breaking ground, as their new assistant will be a full-time member of Popovich’s staff.
.@BeckyHammon on Pop’s reason for hiring her: “I’m hiring you because you’re a good fit here and you just happen to be a woman.”
— WNBA (@WNBA) August 5, 2014
Here is part of her press conference:
The news of her hiring has been well-received. Her name was among the top trending topics on Twitter for most of the day, and she received many congratulatory texts and statements.
Spurs forward Austin Daye welcomed her to the Spurs family on Instagram.
Congrats to Coach Becky Hammon hired today as an assistant coach with the #Spursfamily to become the 2nd female in history to join the NBA!!! #History #Spurs #itsallaboutwinning”
Her hiring has garnered her attention from both her contemporaries and stars in both the entertainment and sports worlds.
Congrats to @BeckyHammon ! Amazing!
— Tina Charles (@tinacharles31) August 5, 2014
Congrats Becky!!!!! What an amazing opportunity! — Skylar Diggins (@SkyDigg4) August 5, 2014
Congrats @BeckyHammon. That’s BIG TYME!!
— Epiphanny Prince (@Piphdagreat10) August 5, 2014
@BeckyHammon Spurs hire Hammon as assistant NBA Coach! Powerful statement by Popovich! Breakthrough for women in NBA! Congrats Becky!
— Lin Dunn (@Coach_Dunn) August 5, 2014
Congrats @BeckyHammon – boundaries are meant to be broken
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) August 5, 2014
She still has three games remaining as a player for the Stars, then she’ll begin an all-new adventure as assistant coach on the biggest stage with the reigning NBA champions.
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