Becky Hammon has been appointed as the first female assistant coach in the NBA. Hammon will sit on the bench with Gregg Popovich at the San Antonio Spurs next season, reports ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Hammon has been named as one of the best WNBA players of all time. In 445 games in the WNBA, she has amassed 5,809 points and 1,687 assists.
Hammon follows in the footsteps of Lisa Boyer, who served as a volunteer coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2002.
Here’s what we know so far:
1. Gregg Popovich Had Already Invited Her to Practices
Hammon had expressed an interest in coaching after announcing her plans to retire at the end of the 2014 season, she had been invited to training camp with the Spurs, reported the Los Angeles Times. Coach Popovich made a statement about the appointment, saying:
I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff. 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.
This is the second major coaching appointment by the Spurs, in July, Gregg Popovich appointed Ettore Messina to his staff.
2. She’s Still a Russian Citizen
Hammon famously defected to play for Russia despite having been born and grown up in South Dakota. In 2008, she became a Russian citizen and played for the country at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
3. The NBA Is Proving Itself as the Most Progressive of Leagues
With Hammon’s appointment to the Spurs bench, she follows Michele Roberts, who became the NBA’s first female executive in July 2014. Roberts, a D.C. based lawyer, was appointed to the position of NBA’s players union. With this, she became the first woman to head up a North American men’s sports union, reported the Washington Post. The NBA has further proved its progressive attitude with huge support that Jason Collins received when he came out and the collective condemnation of Donald Sterling’s racist comments.
4. Hammon Spent Most of her Career in San Antonio
Hammon spent most of her professional career in the U.S. with the San Antonio Stars, she also spent time playing with the New York Liberty.
Why stop at asst coach? Becky Hammon could probably win more than ex-Pop asst Brown did as 76ers head coach. I mean, if 76ers wanted her to.
— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) August 5, 2014
5. Hammon Has Her Jersey Number Retired at Colorado State
She went to high school in Rapid City, South Dakota, and in her junior year was named South Dakota Miss Basketball. She attended college at Colorado State where she was an All-American and Colorado Sportswoman of the Year. Her jersey is retired at Colorado State.