A retiring Women’s National Basketball Association player is lining up a prestigious new job.
On Tuesday, the San Antonio Spurs hired Becky Hammon as an assistant coach, marking the second time in National Basketball Association history that a woman has served on a coaching staff.
In an NBA press release, the Spurs’ head coach, Greg Popovich, said he was eager to have Hammon on board:
“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”.
During the Spurs’ championship-winning season, Popovich started grooming Hammon to join the coaching staff. Popovich invited Hammon to practices so he could watch her work with the team. At the time, Popovich told Inside Stuff:
“She’s been perfect… 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”.
Hammon is planning to retire from WNBA’s San Antonio Stars at the end of the season. According to SB Nation, Hammon’s record with the Stars makes her one of the greatest players in WNBA history, with “5,809 points (seventh in the league’s history) and 1,687 assists (fourth in league history) in 445 games played”.
Hammon gained notoriety in 2008, when she decided to play for the Russian Olympic team after not being selected for Team U.S.A.. During the Olympic tournament, Hammon lead the Russian team to a bronze win, after losing to the U.S. in the semi-finals.
The 37-year-old started her professional career with uncertainty; going unpicked during the 1999 WNBA draft. She signed with New York Liberty in May 1999 and spent eight seasons with the team before being traded to the Stars.
As noted, Hammon is not the first woman on an NBA coaching staff; back in 2001, Lisa Boyer served as a volunteer coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, as USA Today notes, Boyer did not travel to the Cavaliers’ away games and was not paid directly by the NBA. Now, Hammon will become the first woman to be full-time NBA coach.
Hammon will join the Spurs’ coaching squad after the end of the Stars’ season, around August 18. She is joining the Spurs as they prepare to defend their 2014-2015 NBA championship title. As reported in the Inquisitr, the Spurs won the title in five games, in a series against the Miami Heat.
[Image source: Inside Stuff]