Becky Hammon scripted history by becoming the first woman to serve as a head coach in an NBA match. The 43-year-old took charge of the team after first-team coach Gregg Popovich was ejected during the second quarter of Spurs‘ game against Los Angeles Lakers.
Hammon was a prominent player in the WNBA circuit and was hired by the San Antonio Spurs as their assistant coach. She is one of the six assistant women coaches across the league.
During the their 121-107 loss to the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers, coach Popovich was ejected for arguing with the referee in the second quarter of the game. Following the events leading to his expulsion, the legendary coach opted for Hammon to guide the team ahead in the match.
“He officially pointed at me, That was it. ‘You’ve got them.’ Obviously, it’s a big deal. It’s a substantial moment.” she said
While she has experience coaching the summer team and the first team during a pre-season game, this was the first time she was asked to coach the first team during a full-fledged competitive NBA fixture.
“It was business as usual,’ they’re used to hearing my voice in practice. In practice, Pop will put us in two teams and we’ll each have a team. So they’re kind of used to hearing me out there, seeing me draw a play on the board or whatnot.” Hammon said.
LeBron James delighted with Hammon leading the Spurs on the sidelines
Playing on his 36th birthday, it was business as usual for LeBron. The ace player recorded more than points across 1000 consecutive games to make a new entry into his already lengthy list of accolades.
Speaking after the victory, which brings them back to winning ways following the loss to the Trailblazers, LeBron heaped praise on Hammon.
“Obviously, she’s been paying her dues over the last few years and Coach Pop has given her the opportunity,
It’s a beautiful thing just to hear her barking out calls, barking out sets. She’s very passionate about the game. So congrats to her, congrats to our league.” LeBron said
Lakers will once again play against the Spurs in their first fixture of 2021 on New Year’s Day. With Popovich set to return, Hammon is expected to be back on the bench to fulfill her duties as the assistant coach.