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Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon says her hiring ‘could be catastrophic’ if she wasn’t qualified

Aug 6, 2014, 10:29 AM EDT

The Spurs named Becky Hammon as assistant coach on Tuesday, and while technically she becomes the second female to hold that title in NBA history, in practice she’ll be the first with a real role in coaching a men’s professional team.

Lisa Boyer was part of John Lucas‘ staff with the Cavaliers during the 2001-02 season, but didn’t travel with the team, and was paid by Cleveland’s WNBA franchise.

Hammon figures to have much more responsibility under Gregg Popovich, who had no interest in hiring Hammon simply to make history.

From Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News:

“Pop told me, early on, ‘As cool as it would be to hire you, you have to be qualified, and I have to make sure you’re qualified,’” Hammon said. “I think that’s the best way to go about it. It could be catastrophic if I wasn’t qualified, and then it sets the whole thing back.”

Despite all efforts to make Hammon’s hiring seem ordinary, there was no way to deny its significance.

“Obviously, the (historic first) is great, and it’s a tremendous honor, but I think the bigger point is I’m getting hired because I’m capable, because of my basketball IQ and stuff that they’ve seen in me personally,” Hammon said. “I know I’m just thrilled for the opportunity to coach these unbelievable athletes and, from what I’ve known, unbelievable people.”

Hammon is in the final season of a WNBA career that’s lasted 16 seasons, the last eight of which have been spent in San Antonio, where she’s been able to be around Popovich and the Spurs for many of those years.

There isn’t a team that’s proven to be more serious about the craft of basketball than the Spurs have over the past 17 seasons with Popovich running the show, so there’s no doubting that Hammon has the necessary skills to not only do the job she was hired for, but to excel at it, as well.

  1. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    Her jersey on Nickname Day will be Beyoncé because in her interview she told them to put a ring on it.

    • jonevans511 - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      And yours would be Dhalsim because your comment was a huuuuuge reach.

      • kash71 - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:44 PM

        Thank you for making my day with the SFII reference.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 6, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        That’s a winner right there.

  2. phinagain - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    Wow, two comments in and we’ve gone from basketball to Street Fighter II. That’s got to be some kind of record. Earliest non-sequitur in a sports blog?

    • ebecks34 - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      And that my friend, is the motive we all visit this site everyday.

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:44 PM

        Agreed.

  3. musketmaniac - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    Should be very popular in the locker room.

  4. hojo20 - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    Yes, I would.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:48 PM

      I would D her down….. I mean up. On the hard wood. The court!

  5. mannyicey - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Not a liberal (moderate), but I think this is a little late. The only reason why is because I would have loved to see Pat Summit coach in the NBA.

    • genericcommenter - Aug 6, 2014 at 2:20 PM

      I get what you are saying and agree with you. That said, I think it’s sad (not you, the expectation/environment) that one would even need to reference personal political beliefs before agreeing on this subject. FWIW, I consider myself very liberal but I was VERY conservative 10-15 years ago and would have never opposed this move or reacted with cynicism, even back then.

  6. azarkhan - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    So Becky, how did you like playing for Russia in the Olympics?

    • antistratfordian - Aug 6, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      You make a good point though. I probably wouldn’t have hired her just for that. Not because of patriotism, but because of her rationale for becoming a Russian citizen – it would make me question her ethics and decision making.

      • hollywood26 - Aug 6, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        So would you question Drew Gooden? He’s heading to play for Finland. Then there are players like Javale McGee trying to play for other countries too (although we all know he’s a headcase LOL)
        Happens more often than you’d think

      • antistratfordian - Aug 6, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        Of course I would question Gooden and McGee and Blatche. I know it happens, and I wouldn’t hire them either.

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:50 PM

        Real talk anti.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 6, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      If Anne Donovan was so upset about Hammon playing for another country, she should have invited Hammon to try out for the US team.

    • bbk1000 - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:29 PM

      I’m surprised how many people don’t give a hoot about her decision…..but after reading most comments on this board I shouldn’t be…..

  7. csbanter - Aug 6, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    If Tim Duncan had retired would she have been hired. The answer is no because Pop would have left as well and the Spurs would not be championship contenders. Once Duncan leaves its over in SA.

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