The NBA champion San Antonio Spurs added WNBA star Becky Hammon to their the team as an assistant coach for the 2014-2015 season. Hammon will be the first female assistant coach paid by an NBA team.
“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,” said head coach Gregg Popovich in a team released statement.
Hammon has played 16 seasons in the WNBA and will retire at the end of the 2014 campaign. Hammon, who played eight seasons for the New York Liberty and is now in her eighth season with the San Antonio Silver Stars, ranks sixth in games played all-time in the WNBA, second in career three-pointers and fourth in assists.
During a press conference Hammon commented on her new position. “I think this happens to be a situation where they have been observing me for years playing down here,” said Hammon. “They decided this can work. There’s a lot of things that go into it besides ‘This would be a cool idea.’ It’s got to fit and it’s got to be the right fit and it just so happens that it is down here — and the environment they create.
“It is big and I definitely hope little girls can say, ‘Hey look people can do whatever they put their mind to.’ It’s exciting and honestly it’s too early to tell what kind of [future] impact it is going to have,” said Hammon.
Lisa Boyer became the first woman to join an NBA coaching staff in 2001 with the Cleveland Cavaliers however she was a “volunteer assistant coach” and did not travel with the team.