Another Barrier Broken as Woman Is First to Coach NBA Game

Becky Hammon

Becky Hammon made history at the close of 2020, becoming the first woman to coach an NBA team.

The 43-year-old assistant coach made her mark when she took over coaching the San Antonio Spurs in the second quarter during a Dec. 30th game against the Los Angeles Lakers after Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich was ejected. The veteran coach had been arguing with referee Tony Brown prior to ejection and, on his way to the locker room, anointed Hammon as his replacement coach.

“He officially pointed at me," Hammon said in an interview after the game. "That was it. Said, ‘You’ve got them.’ Obviously, it’s a big deal. It’s a substantial moment.”

Of the historical moment for women everywhere, Hammon said in a post-game interview that she tries “not to think of the huge picture and huge aspect of it because it can be overwhelming.”

Get Them Motivated

“I really have had no time to reflect," she said. "I have not had time to look at my phone. So, I don’t know what’s going on outside the [Spur's home arena] AT&T Center.”

The former WNBA player said of her coaching that night that her goal was “to get the guys in the right spots” and try “to get them motivated.”

“Obviously, it’s a learning situation for all of us,” she said before acknowledging the team's loss to the Lakers and saying that she’d have “loved to have walked out of there with a win with the guys.”

As per the New York Times, Hammon’s a six-time All-Star from her 16-year tenure with the WNBA and previously represented Russia in the 2008 and 2021 Olympic games after being passed over for the United States Olympic team.

Lakers’ LeBron James acknowledged Hammon’s success and congratulated her in a post-game interview: “It’s a beautiful thing just to hear her barking out calls, barking out sets. She’s very passionate about the game. So congrats to her, congrats to our league.”


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