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Becky Hammon Coaches in the NBA and Makes History


#Becky #Hammon became the first woman to coach a major #American men’s professional sports team when she took over for #San #Antonio #Spurs coach #Gregg #Popovich after he was ejected from a #Wednesday game—a landmark moment that capped a breakthrough year for women in an industry dominated by men.

#Hammon learned that she would be replacing #Popovich when he pointed at her and uttered three words that would break a gender barrier in sports.

“You got ‘em,” he said.

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“When #Pop gives us an order,” #Hammon said afterward, “we go with it.”

#Popovich was tossed in the second quarter of the #Spurs’ loss to the #Los #Angeles #Lakers for arguing with a referee. #Hammon took over his coaching duties for the rest of the game—standing to call plays, sitting in the middle of the team huddle during timeouts and doing the job like every man before her in NBA history.

“I did not walk into the arena thinking that I would be coaching tonight,” #Hammon said. “But that’s the way things go, and you roll with it.” #She added: “I would have loved to get a win tonight more than anything.”

#Her elevation to acting head coach was a trailblazing milestone treated without much fanfare. There was nobody to recognize the moment in an empty arena, and the #Spurs are so used to hearing from #Hammon in practice that they reacted to their substitute coach as if it were “business as usual,” she said. #Only after the game did she allow herself to acknowledge the magnitude of the occasion.

#Becky #Hammon questions a call after taking over as coach on #Wednesday.


#Photo:

scott wachter/Reuters

“Obviously, it’s a big deal,” she said. “I try not to think of the huge picture and the huge aspect of it because it can get overwhelming. #It’s my job to go in there and be focused for those guys and make sure that I’m helping them do the things that will help us win. I really have not had time to reflect.”

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#Hammon, a 43-year-old former WNBA player, has been a #Spurs assistant since 2014, moving from a spot behind the bench to a seat on the bench to the chair right next to #Popovich, the coach with five NBA titles. #She was a legendary player herself, and it was her playing career that brought her to #San #Antonio in the first place, as she was traded to the now-defunct #Silver #Stars in 2007 and quickly became acquainted with the other basketball team in town.

#She has long commanded the respect of players around the NBA.

“The guys are really a non-issue,” she said. “Their attitude and their approach is always great with me—really all across the league. #You can go on any team. They’re almost hyper-aware of it, so they give me great eye contact, they give me great focus, they give me great energy. I want to make sure I give that all back to them.”

#Given her playing background, coaching pedigree and experience with #Popovich and the #Spurs–the NBA’s most respected coach and one of the league’s model franchises– #Hammon was widely expected to be the first woman to be a head coach in the NBA, NFL, #Major #League #Baseball or NHL long before #Wednesday night.

#It nearly happened last season in another game when #Popovich was ejected. #As his longest tenured assistant coach, #Hammon was the natural choice to coach for him in a pinch. #For a while on that night in #November 2019, it appeared that she was the acting coach, as she was the one holding a clipboard and initially addressing the players after the ejection.

The #Spurs clarified after the game that the job officially went to another #Popovich assistant, #Tim #Duncan, who happened to be one of the NBA’s all-time greatest players. #His playing career had nothing to do with the temporary promotion. The team said #Duncan was tapped instead of #Hammon because he was the coach responsible for scouting their opponent that night.

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#Her opportunity arrived on #Wednesday night. #Popovich walked off the court and #Hammon walked into history.

#Her elevation came the month after the #Miami #Marlins hired longtime baseball executive #Kim #Ng as their general manager, making her the first woman to run team operations in one of the big men’s sports leagues.

#Hammon wasn’t the first woman to be an assistant in the NBA. #And there are others coaching this season, including former MIT women’s coach #Sonia #Raman, who was hired by the #Memphis #Grizzlies after the #Notre #Dame women’s team poached #Niele #Ivey from their staff. #Many people around the league believe that #Hammon has been groomed for another first soon.

“She has all the tools necessary to be a heck of a coach in our league,” #Popovich said hours before #Wednesday’s game.

#Write to #Ben #Cohen at [email protected]

#Copyright ©2020 #Dow #Jones & #Company, #Inc. #All #Rights #Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



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https://www.wsj.com/articles/becky-hammon-first-woman-coach-nba-spurs-11609391118

##Becky ##Hammon ##Coaches #NBA ##History

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