Becky Hammon Makes History As First Finalist For NBA Head Coaching Job
Becky Hammon has secured a second interview with the Portland Trail Blazers and is considered a finalist for the organization’s head-coaching job, multipleoutlets are reporting, which means a National Basketball Association club may be on the brink of hiring a female head coach for the first time in league history.
Hammon, an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, is joined by Clippers assistant coach Chauncey Billups as the two individuals granted a second interview with the Blazers, according to ESPN.
The Athletic reports Hammon advancing this far in the process represents the “first time a woman has gone into the final stages of an NBA coaching search.”
In a December game vs. the Lakers, Hammon took over for Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich after he was ejected, becoming the first woman to serve as head coach during an NBA game.
She is also the first woman to serve as head coach in the NBA Summer League, leading the San Antonio summer squad to a title in 2015.
Hammon reportedly also recently interviewed with the Orlando Magic regarding their head coaching vacancy.
Hammon played professionally in the WNBA for 16 seasons. One of the best offensive players in league history, she was named to the All-Star team six times. After retiring in 2014, Hammon joined coach Popovich’s staff and has remained on the Spurs bench since. “We didn’t hire Becky to make history,” Popovich stated. “She earned it. She is qualified. She’s wonderful at what she does.” Hammon isn’t the only woman being seriously considered for one of the many head-coaching jobs available. After the New Orleans Pelicans parted ways with coach Stan Van Gundy last week, Pelicans assistant coach Teresa Weatherspoon (a former teammate of Hammon with the WNBA’s New York Liberty) is reportedly considered a top candidate to replace him. Dawn Staley, the head coach at the University of South Carolina and a former head coach for the U.S. women’s Olympic team, has also been recently mentioned for open head coaching vacancies in the NBA. The Boston Celtics are looking for a new head coach, and Kara Lawson, who served as an assistant coach with the team during the 2019-20 season before being hired as the head coach of the Duke women’s basketball team, is reportedly on the Celtics radar.
“I’ve played under two of the sharpest minds in the history of sports, Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. And I’m telling you, Becky Hammon can coach,” future Hall-of-Famer Pau Gasol wrote an open letter for The Players’ Tribune in 2018. “I’m not saying she can coach pretty well. I’m not saying she can coach enough to get by. I’m not saying she can coach almost at the level of the NBA’s male coaches. I’m saying Becky Hammon can coach NBA basketball. Period.”
Last November, the Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as their new general manager. Ng is the first female and first Asian American GM in Major League Baseball’s 151-year history.
5,841. That’s the number of points Hammon scored in her WNBA career, which ranks 15th on the league all-time scoring list.