Eric Gay/Associated Press
Becky Hammon has been an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs for four seasons, but it won’t be easy for her to get a head coaching job in the NBA.
“It’s going to take somebody who has some guts, some imagination, and is not driven by old standards and old forms,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said, per Louisa Thomas of the New Yorker.
The 41-year-old was already the first woman to become a full-time assistant coach in the NBA in 2014.
As a player, Hammon spent 16 seasons in the WNBA, earning six All-Star appearances, while also winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics representing Russia.
However, it’s her work as a coach that is breaking barriers. She led the Spurs Summer League team to the championship in 2015 and now has valuable experience as an assistant behind one of the top coaches in the game. The Spurs have gone 230-98 in the past four seasons.
“If somebody is smart, it’s actually a pretty good marketing deal—but it’s not about that,” Popovich said about a team potentially hiring Hammon as a head coach. “It’s got to be that she’s competent, that she’s ready.”
She has gotten plenty of interest for various other jobs in recent years.
Hammon turned down a chance to be the head coach of the Florida women’s team and was reportedly a candidate to lead the men’s team at Colorado State, her alma mater. Per Thomas, the Milwaukee Bucks also reached out to interview her for the general manager job.
None of these worked out, however, and she will remain on the Spurs bench as they compete in the playoffs with a first-round matchup against the Golden State Warriors. Meanwhile, she will continue to learn from Popovich and possibly keep an eye out for an NBA job.