Becky Hammon, the NBA’s first full-time female assistant coach, is blazing the trail for women coaches more quickly than most imagined.
She earned the respect of the Spurs last season, and she just coached the franchise’s summer-league team to a title. With the approval of Gregg Popovich, she’s on the fast track to becoming an NBA head coach.
Would a team actually hire a woman, though?
NBA commissioner Adam Silver thinks so.
Adam Silver has “no doubt” the NBA could see a day when Becky Hammon or another woman is a head coach.
“No different than for me in coming up in my career, unless you’re given those opportunities, you’re never going to show your ability to be successful,” Silver said. “So I’m enormously proud of her and I’m enormously proud of the players who’ve quickly seen that she’s a top-notch coach and have been willing to follow her.”
“I think just like we’ve seen enormous change in our society, just in the last decade, I think that’s another ceiling, another barrier that will be broken,” Silver said. “And it takes women like Becky being out there.
“You need pioneers and there’s been other pioneers before her, but I think you couldn’t ask for more of a complete package in terms of former player, student of the game and someone who’s able to work within a strong organization like the Spurs.”
I agree with Silver. Though some teams might be reluctant to hire a female head coach, it only takes one. I think there are enough forward-thinking organizations that would do it.
The next step is a woman proving she deserves the job.
I don’t think Hammon has done that yet. She’s been an NBA assistant only one year, and while a summer-league title is a nice accomplishment, it’s just one line on what needs to be a longer résumé.
But she’s on the right track. Soon enough, other women will probably join her as assistant coaches, creating a larger pool of candidates.
Hammon is the safe bet if you’re picking one person to become the NBA’s first female head coach. A safer bet is that someone will do it in due time.