Six-time-all-star Hammon has been hired as an assistant coach to the San Antonio Spurs.
She may never have shattered a backboard, but glass ceilings are a different story for Hammon as she will be the first woman with a coaching position in the National Basketball Association during the regular season. Hammon, 37, is the second woman to serve on an NBA coaching staff.
She recently announced her retirement from the Women's National Basketball Association on July 23, following her playing 13 seasons. From her time on the court, Hammon became seventh in WNBA history in points (5,809), fourth in assists (1,687) and sixth in games (445) and spent the past eight seasons with the San Antonio Stars.
"It’s a tremendous challenge, and it comes with tremendous responsibility," Hammon said of her appointment on Tuesday. "There have been so many other women that are doing really, really great things, and I’m just kind of following in their paths."
Following her time with the Stars, Hammon was around the Spurs in an unofficial capacity during much of the 2013-2014 NBA season. Healing from a knee injury in 2013, she began to consider a coaching position as her playing career was coming to an end. During her rehabilitation, she was welcomed to practices, coaching meetings and film-review sessions by the Spurs.
"I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff," said Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich. "Having observed her working with our team this past season, I’m confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs."
As historic a role this is, Hammon noted that Popovich said her hiring was based on her qualifications in basketball, and gender did not come into the mix.
"He says, ‘It just so happens you’re a woman,’ " Hammon said.
She follows in the footsteps of Lisa Boyer, who was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers' staff in the 2001-2002 season, and Natalie Nakase, a former basketball player who was the first female assistant coach in the NBA and sat on the bench for the Los Angeles Clippers' 2014 summer league. Hammon's position will be full-time and paid as she works during the regular season, whereas Boyer was part time and unpaid, and Nakase worked during the summer.
To Hammon and the rest of the basketball community, the Spurs choice wasn't all too surprising as they've been known to apply innovative thinking. This thinking has made other female leaders in the NBA proud.
"I was so excited and pleased and the one thing that people have to remember is that the San Antonio Spurs don't do anything for effect," said Nancy Lieberman, a former notable player who served as head coach in the NBA Development League (2009) and is currently the GM of the Texas Legends.
"That's not who they are. They don't do this for the record-breaking barrier. They do things out of respect... I'm sure he [ Popovich ] didn't hire her because she was a woman. I'm sure he hired her because she was the best person for the job."
Hammon received congratulations across the basketball and media sphere, and thanked everyone back by tweeting "Thanks for all the love & support today!! I feel incredibly blessed, grateful, surreal & excited all at the same time!"
We give our congrats too!
Photo Credit: Twitter