Becky Hammon, the NBA’s first female full-time assistant coach, has broken another barrier.
After coaching the Spurs’ summer-league team to the 2015 title, she coached the main squad in a 122-100 preseason win over the Nuggets on Sunday.
Hammon, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:
“It’s an amazing opportunity for me,” Hammon said. “But we’re a teaching program, and that comes directly from [Popovich]. So for him to give us this opportunity and the guys here a different voice, that’s what his [coaching] tree is kind of all about. It’s mentoring and bringing people along.”
Similar to how he rests his stars and occasionally empowers lesser players with big roles, Gregg Popovich has sat himself during the preseason. After Hammon coached the first half against Denver, another assistant, Will Hardy coached the second half. Assistant Ime Udoka coached an earlier exhibition.
It’s a nice opportunity for everyone involved, but it’s especially noteworthy for Hammon, who could become the NBA’s first female head coach. Her track is being watched a little more closely, and this is another step toward history.