Spurs hire WNBA star Becky Hammon as assistant
The San Antonio Spurs hired WNBA star Becky Hammon on Tuesday, making her the first full-time, paid female assistant on an NBA coaching staff.
Hammon, who plans to retire from the San Antonio Stars after this season, spent time working with coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs last season and made a strong impression on an organization with a history of forward-thinking moves.
During the 2001-02 season, Cleveland Cavaliers coach John Lucas brought Lisa Boyer into the team’s practices and some games. Boyer, now an assistant at South Carolina, was not paid by the Cavaliers and did not travel with the team, but did work with the players and coaches that season.
Last season, Hammon attended Spurs practices, film sessions and sat behind the bench for the NBA champions at home game this season. She’s been friends with Spurs teammates Tony Parker and Tim Duncan since competing in an NBA All-Star shooting competition in 2008.
“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff,” Popovich said. “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’s the latest trailblazing move for the Spurs, who hired European coaching legend Ettore Messina to join Popovich’s staff earlier this summer and have been the leaders in bringing international players to the NBA for almost two decades.
The Spurs are coming off of their fifth NBA title, a decisive victory over the Miami Heat in June. The organization’s stature as the league’s gold standard, along with Popovich and GM RC Buford being viewed as two of the very best in the business, led other women who have long dreamed of coaching in the NBA to hope that this is the first major step toward bringing more women into the league.
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