BEcky Hammon didn’t even try to downplay her historic appearance, who should she have fooled? Sure, it was “a big deal” and “a momentous moment,” Hammon admitted. She had just done her job with the San Antonio Spurs basketball team – and yet again crossed a line. As the first woman in the history of the great American professional leagues, she was responsible for a team.
At 107: 121 against NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, Hammons hour struck in the second quarter: head coach Gregg Popovich had been expelled from the field after a discussion with the referees. On the way to the catacombs, he pointed to his co-trainer: “He said: ‘You’re going to do this.” And that was it. That’s pop, ”said Hammon (43) later.
Although LeBron James reached another milestone on his 36th birthday with the 1000th NBA game in a row with a double-digit point yield and led his team to victory together with the strong Dennis Schröder (21 points), Hammon was the focus. There had never been anything like it before, but it was hinted at.
Hammon, who has both American and Russian citizenship, has been working in San Antonio since 2007. First as a player in the WNBA for the Silver Stars, since 2014 as a co-trainer for the Spurs. “I’ve been here in San Antonio for 13 years and I’ve invested a lot of time, but the club has also invested a lot of time and helped me get better,” said the 2008 Olympic third-placed.
Hammon drew attention back in 2015 when she led Spurs to victory in the NBA Summer League. At that time, she showed that she also gains the necessary respect in the front row, but when boss Popovich was excluded in November 2019, club icon Tim Duncan took over his job. But the champion of yore is now history in San Antonio, Hammon is number one after Popovich.
His contract expires in mid-2022, when the veteran, who as coach and president leads the Texan club almost single-handedly, will be 73 years old. “She has all the requirements to be a really good coach in the NBA,” said Popovich last about Hammon. Is he preparing his succession? After all, Hammon is courted, she was already on the list as head coach at the Milwaukee Bucks.
Hammon worked hard for the recognition, superstar James praised her highly, and Lakers coach Frank Vogel said after the historic evening in San Antonio: “She knows what she’s doing. She is here for good reasons. She is equipped. She is intelligent. The boys respect her. I think one day she will be the head coach in this league. ”And that will write the next chapter in sports history.