There will be a woman coaching an NBA team in the near future. You can count on it.
Becky Hammon, who will be entering her eighth season in the league as an assistant coach, is considered to be one of the top coaching candidates in all of the NBA. She also happens to be a woman.
In June, Hammon was a finalist for the Portland Trail Blazers head coaching vacancy, one that was eventually offered to former player Chauncey Billups.
And while she is appreciative of the opportunity to interview for one of the most prestigious and difficult jobs to get in the world, she has no interest in being hired simply because she’s a woman.
“It’s huge and important. It’s something that can’t be (checking) the box,” the Spurs assistant told The Associated Press. “You have to hire the best person. Half the world’s population hasn’t been tapped for their mind and ability and skill sets in the sports world. It’s something that needs to change.”
“Please don’t hire me to check a box. That’s the worst thing you can do for me,” she said. “Hire me because of my skill sets and coaching, who am I as a person, hire me for those.”
The push for the first female head coach to be hired has gained steam in recent years due to Hammon’s success, along with a handful of women assistant coaches in the league. Hammon has worked under arguably the greatest coach of our generation — Gregg Popovich — and also played at the highest level of women’s basketball.
She had a 16-year career in the WNBA, making six All-Star appearances along the way. In December 2020, she became the first woman to serve as head coach of a regular season game when she filled in for Popovich after he was ejected from a regular season game.
“It’s been business as usual from the beginning. We didn’t hire Becky to make history,” Popovich said after the game. “She earned it. She is qualified. She’s wonderful at what she does. I wanted her on my staff because of the work that she does. And she happens to be a woman, which basically should be irrelevant but it’s not in our world, as we’ve seen as it’s been so difficult for women to obtain certain positions. It was business as usual for us.”
While Hammon does want to be a head coach one day, she understands that it’s a difficult job to secure, considering there are only so many head coaching opportunities to go around.
“There’s 30 jobs and they are incredibly hard to get,” Hammon said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “When I saw there are 30 jobs, not all 30 are available, so I’m really talking about three or four and they are really hard to get.”
The NBA and commissioner Adam Silver have made female participation in the coaching ranks a focal point over the past few years, saying that the lack of female NBA head coaches was “frustrating” in a July press conference.
“It’s a little bit frustrating. It’s an area where even just looking around the room here, you would like to see more women represented in the room here today, in all aspects of our business,” Silver said. “We have historically made more progress on race rather than on gender. But I think that’s beginning to change. It’s slow. It’s frustrating. But it’s the work that we have to do every day to change.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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