Becky Hammon Makes History as the NBA's First Female Full-Time Coach

Becky Hammon made history this week when she accepted a position as the first full-time, paid female assistant coach in the NBA. She’ll be coaching for the San Antonio Spurs, a team with—according to ESPN—“a reputation for bold decisions.” 

Hammon also has a reputation for bold decisions. Though she’s a South Dakota native, Hammon became a naturalized Russian citizen in 2008 so she could play for the country’s basketball team in the Olympics—twice. She’s also spent 16 years playing in the WNBA, where she currently ranks fourth all time in career assists. When she tore her ACL in 2013, she rehabbed in San Antonio, where the Spurs welcomed her into their practices, coaching meetings, and film-review sessions. She thinks of that time with the team as her internship, while this job is now “the perfect challenge and opportunity.” 

Hammon was congratulated by Kobe Bryant, who called her a “bright basketball mind,” as well as groundbreaking tennis player Billie Jean King, who praised the Spurs for hiring “a key person based on their qualifications and not allowing gender to play a role in their decision.” Hammon has proven herself a driven player and a studious "intern." This opportunity will give her a chance to make even more groundbreaking moves.