Did your jaw drop yesterday when you heard the news? Did you think this day would ever come? I have to be honest…I didn’t! As cool as I knew it would be for a woman to be a coach for an NBA team, I just couldn’t see it truly happening. But, yes folks, this week it was announced that Becky Hammon was hired as the first full-time female hire for an NBA coaching staff — as assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. In her own basketball career, Becky has been a standout — with nearly 16 seasons under her belt in the WNBA, and seven times as an All-Star. So the woman knows her stuff…and then some!
We can do air high-fives and hat tips to Becky, we should definitely also give shout-outs to a few women who paved the path for her to step into this prestigious role:
- Most recently, Natalie Nakase, who coached the L.A. Clippers summer league this year, and cut her teeth 3 years ago as head coach of the Saitama Broncos in Japan, as the first female head coach in Japanese men’s professional basketball.
- Nancy Lieberman, who coached the Dallas Mavericks’ D-League team in 2009
- Lisa Boyer, a volunteer assistant on Cleveland Cavaliers’ staff in 2001-02.
But Becky Hammon said it best:
“There’s women that have trail-blazed much bigger paths and really trail-blazed the path for things like this to happen. There’s a lot more important things going on, in the bigger things, CEOs of companies. Women are really in every area. They’re in the surgery rooms. They’re doctors. They’re lawyers. They’re COOs. So even me sitting here today to be able to have the playing experience that I had as a professional basketball player, women went before me to pave that trail. So I’m really just reaping benefits of all their hard work and labor.”
Much respect to Becky for acknowledging her sisters who have made it possible for her, and other women in the future, to use their skills, experience and passion for the game to lead other talented athletes to success.