In last night’s game, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected. Following his ejection, history was made — Becky Hammon became the first woman to head coach not only an NBA team, but any of the four major U.S. sports leagues (MLB, NHL, NFL, & NBA).
The Spurs have been paving the way for Hammon since she was hired in 2014 as the first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history after her playing career in the WNBA ended.
“It’s a big deal. It’s a substantial moment,” Hammon said after the game. “I have a lot of time invested, and (the Spurs) have a lot of time invested in me. Honestly, in the moment, I was just trying to win the game. I say this a lot, but I try not to think about the huge picture, the huge aspect of it because it can get overwhelming.”
It was a losing effort to the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, but that’s beside the point. The fact that Hammon was given the opportunity when the opportunity presented itself proves that the Spurs are serious about their investment in Hammon, and that they truly believe in her as a coach and as a leader. It was a great display of confidence, and teams around the league need to take notice and follow suit.
Hammon is continuing the progressive nature of the Spurs organization, which has done a wonderful job to promote and build her up over the years. Filling in as a head coach is a wonderful first step towards what will eventually become the first full-time head coaching hire. Hopefully that day will come soon.