Few people are primed to make history like Becky Hammon, and she seems well aware of it.
The San Antonio Spurs assistant coach discussed her future in an upcoming NBC interview and said what many in the NBA, including her own boss Gregg Popovich, seem to think: She's ready for an NBA head coaching job.
Speaking with Hoda Kotb as part of NBC's “Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List" primetime special, Hammon said she understands her hire will be seen as a risk, and it could come this offseason or in a decade:
“This ball is never moving fast enough, in my opinion. People don't like doing something new and different. It's uncomfortable. It takes massive amount of risk. Somebody's going to have to take a chance.
“In some ways, I feel like it could be in a year. In other ways, it could be 10 years. I'm not really sure. What I'm sure of is, I'll be ready.”
Of course, it's hard to see how Hammon could be a risky hire for any reason other than her gender. "Gregg Popovich's top assistant" might be the most safe job title for head coaching hires in the NBA, as evidenced by his considerable coaching tree.
Becky Hammon is one of the NBA's most qualified head coach candidates
Hammon has been an assistant under Popovich since 2014, when she become the league's first full-time female assistant. Before that, she was a WNBA All-Star with 15 years of playing experience.
Her stock has done nothing but rise in the time since her hiring, with a promotion to Popovich’s top assistant in 2018 and experience as a head coach for the Spurs’ Summer League team and in exhibition games in the NBA bubble. That resume has already gotten Hammon an interview for a top job, as she spoke with the Indiana Pacers last offseason.
Hammon made history earlier this season when she worked as acting head coach for a game after Popovich was ejected, making her the first woman in NBA history to lead an NBA team during a regular season game. Popovich said she deserved an NBA head-coaching job days later.
Seven seasons of assistant coaching experience, multiple instances of working as a head coach and the endorsement of arguably the greatest coach in NBA history. In a league where a former player with no coaching experience can be hired to run a contender, all of that adds up to a deserving candidate.
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