Becky Hammon made history when she became the first female to become a salaried NBA assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs. Her work was validated Wednesday when the former WNBA all-star was promoted to the team’s top assistant position behind head coach Gregg Popovich.
Hammon replaces James Borrego, who left the team this offseason to become head coach with the Charlotte Hornets. The move further solidifies Hammon’s status as a rising star in NBA coaching circles. She was promoted over other top coaching candidates like former Italian national team head coach Ettore Messina and former NBA player Ime Udoka.
How did Hammon get here?: The 41-year-old became the target of a handful of men’s head coaching positions this spring after boosting her stock with the Spurs, where she not only handled assistant duties but also led San Antonio to a Summer League championship in 2015. She emerged as a candidate to take over at her alma mater, Colorado State, before the Rams hired former assistant Niko Medved. Months later, she earned an interview as part of the Milwaukee Bucks’ search for Jason Kidd’s replacement, but failed to qualify as a finalist for the job.
Hammon was also considered a candidate to helm the Detroit Pistons, though that also failed to pan out.
Her new role as the Dwight Schrute to Popovich’s Michael Scott primes her to break through to a head coaching position sooner rather than later. Hammon has been unfairly criticized for “skipping the line” in her rise through the ranks, but another successful run under the coach who has churned out NBA head coaches like Mike D’Antoni, Brett Brown, and Mike Budzenholder should eliminate doubts about her worthiness.