“Please don’t hire me to tick a box”
The NBA is a male-dominated world, and that hasn’t changed much in the league’s nearly 80-year history. From front offices to coaches to players, every member of every rung has been largely of the same gender for decades.
But a pioneer is here to change that.
Becky Hammon, who has served as an assistant staff coach for the San Antonio Spurs for the past seven years, aims to become the first female head coach in NBA history – and she will make it too. However, Hammon won’t just accept the first offer that falls to his knees. In a recent interview, she firmly told NBA wickets to hire her because she’s the best person for the job, not because it would be a good PR move for the franchise.
Becky Hammon wants to be the first female coach in NBA history
It’s not easy to be a woman in a men’s sport. Just ask the plethora of women who have tried to break into the NBA as a coach, staff, advisor, or even a referee over the past 75 years. Many have failed over the years, but Hammon was not going to take no for the answer.
In 2014, Hammon accomplished what no other woman before her had been able to do: become a full-time assistant coach for an NBA team. The former WNBA star caught the attention of Gregg Popovich after his playing career ended, and he took his chances by adding him to his Spurs squad.
After seven seasons with Spurs, Hammon is starting to garner strong interest from teams in the league to become their head coach. She interviewed the Orlando Magic and Portland Trail Blazers this offseason for their respective openings, but it was ultimately passed in favor of other contenders.
It’s only a matter of time until Hammon leads his own team.
Hammon refuses to be a pawn in someone else’s game
Hammon’s end goal has always been to become the first woman to lead an NBA team, but she doesn’t see herself as an assistant coach or head coaching candidate. She simply sees herself as an accomplished coach, a qualified candidate and a respected peer in the NBA circle.
If a team wants to hire her because she’s the best fit for the job, so much the better. But if a team just wants to make the headlines and generate a positive buzz with a historic hire, that’s not going to fly with Hammon.
“Please don’t hire me to tick a box. It’s the worst thing you can do for me, ”Hammon said in a telephone interview with Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press this week. “Hire me because of my skills and my coaching, who am I as a person.” Hire me for those.
Hammon hopes there will come a day when women in the NBA can be applauded for their success, not their gender.
“It’s huge and important. It’s something that can’t be [checking] the box, ”she said. “You have to hire the best person. Half of the world’s population has not been asked for their spirit, abilities and skills in the world of sport. This is something that needs to change.
Hammon could soon be the head coach of your favorite NBA team
For Hammon, it’s a matter of when – not if – she’ll become the head coach of an NBA team. She is a woman who led Spurs to a Summer League title in 2015 when she was given the reins of the team. She made it to the final round of Blazers job interviews this offseason before the team decided on Chauncey Billups.
His time is coming. Just ask the future Hall of Famer Pau Gasol.
“I’ve played with two of the sharpest minds in sports history, Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. And I tell you, Becky Hammon can lead, ”Gasol wrote in an open letter to The Players’ Tribune in 2018. “I’m not saying she can train very well. I’m not saying she can train enough to get by. I’m not saying she can coach almost at the level of NBA male coaches.
“I’m saying Becky Hammon can coach NBA basketball. Period.”
She can, and she will.
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