By: Morgan Ragan
The San Antonio Spurs hired WNBA Player Becky Hammon as an assistant coach making her the first full-time, paid female assistant on an NBA coaching staff. She is also the first full-time female coach in any of the four major professional sports.
Gregg Popovich and the Spurs franchise are coming off their fifth NBA championship and decided to make another breakthrough move by hiring a high basketball IQ coach to their staff.
Here are five reasons why hiring Hammon was a great idea:
1. They are THE innovative franchise.
Always ahead of the curve, who better than the reigning champions to hire the first woman in NBA history to a coaching staff. The Spurs never try to be in the spotlight or strive for attention, they only try to win. This move just shows Popovich and the Spurs know Hammon has a basketball mind who can help their team next season.
2. The San Antonio Community
Hammon is retiring from the WNBA after almost 16 seasons and she’s been with the San Antonio Stars for the past eight seasons. Playing in San Antonio has made her recognizable in the community and is a great way for her to transition into this role in a city she is already comfortable with.
3. Experience on and off the court
There are NBA coaches who don’t have any experience playing on the court and although Hammon has never had the opportunity to defend LeBron James or play above the rim, she knows how to play the game of basketball. She was named one of the WNBA’s top 15 players of all time in July 2011, Hammon ranks seventh in WNBA history in points and fourth in assists.
4. It’s 2014 and the Spurs just get it.
It wouldn’t matter if she was a man or woman, she is a coach in Popp’s mind and this quote says it all:
“She’s been perfect,” Popovich said. “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.”
5. A bright future for women coaches at the highest level
If the next NBA coaching staff wants to hire a woman coach because they know she could help their team to a championship, they will now thanks to the Spurs. By San Antonio being the first to do so they’ve opened a window of opportunities for the best basketball minds out there, men and women.