NBA hires first paid female assistant coach
Becky Hammon has become the first female to be hired as a paid full-time assistant coach within the NBA after being offered the role by the San Antonio Spurs
The 37-year-old 5-foot-six point guard, who still currently plays in the WNBA, will work under Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich who has welcomed the decision.
“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff," Popovich said.
"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.
Lisa Boyer was an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2001-02 season where she held a voluntary position, however Hammon’s tenure marks the first occasion a full-time female assistant coach has been hired within the NBA’s ranks.
“There are women that have trailblazed much bigger paths and really trailblazed a path for things like this to happen,” Hammon humbly noted, as she spoke at a press conference.
"Women are really in every area; they’re in the surgery rooms, they’re doctors, they’re lawyers, they’re COOs. Even me sitting here today to be able to have the playing experience that I have as a professional basketball player, women went before me to pave that trail so I’ am really just reaping the benefits of all their hard work and labour."
Hammon, who is to retire from her 16-year WNBA career at the end of the San Antonio Stars season this month, is best known for her decision to play for Russia in the 2008 Olympics after she failed to receive an invitation to try out for the U.S. team. Russia went on to win a bronze medal and defeated the U.S. in the tournament semi-final.