San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon has long been thought of to become the first female head coach in NBA history and on Thursday, she made it clear that she’s ready for the next step.
She’s served on Gregg Popovich’s bench since 2014, led the team in the NBA Summer League and subbed in for the head coach in December when he was ejected. In a teaser trailer for NBC’s “Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List,” Hammon said she will be ready whenever the moment comes.
“I mean, this ball is never moving fast enough, in my opinion,” Hammon told Hoda Kotb. “People don’t like doing something new and different. It’s uncomfortable. It takes massive amount of risk. Somebody’s going to have to take a chance… In some ways, I feel like it could be in a year. In other ways, it could be 10 years. I’m not really sure. What I’m sure of is, I’ll be ready.”
Popovich, recalling Hammon stepping into his role, said in January the decision to hire the former WNBA star about six years ago wasn’t about making history. He said she was qualified to coach the team but just happens to be a woman.
“As you all know, we’re very participatory. I like to have my coaches coach. The Lakers were her scout team. It made total sense for her to take over. That’s what we’ve done for decades. That’s nothing new,” Popovich said at the time, via the Los Angeles Times.
“But on the bigger question of her having taken over a NBA game, to me, it’s not a big surprise. To a lot of other people it meant a lot. I can understand that. She’s somebody who’s very skilled and could very easily fulfill the duties of a head coach in the NBA. That goes without saying. There are women in every other endeavor in the world, whether it’s government, science, technology, aviation, it doesn’t matter what it is. Women do the same jobs as well and better than men. That’s a fact. There’s no reason why somebody like Becky and other women can’t be coaches in the NBA.
“On a larger scale, that’s why it wasn’t a big deal to me — because I know her. And I know her skills, and I know her value and I know her future is very, very bright. I understand the attention it got, but in all honesty, I assumed that most people already knew that she was qualified to be a head coach in the NBA.”