A new year, a new milestone reached for NBA assistant coach Becky Hammon. When she steps onto Air Canada Centre’s sidelines on Sunday, Feb. 14, Hammon will become the first woman ever to coach in the NBA All-Star Game, serving on Gregg Popovich’s Western Conference staff.
This feat is just the latest ceiling-shattering stepping-stone for the San Antonio Spurs coach. After playing in the WNBA for over a decade, Hammon was hired by Popovich and Co. in August 2014, becoming the first female assistant coach paid by an NBA team in the process. The following summer, she became the first female head coach of an NBA Summer League team, earning words of salute and praise from the San Antonio players themselves (“This day will go down in the books for years to come … I love her. I barely know her and I love her already,” said Jonathon Simmons, who was the Las Vegas Summer League's Championship Game MVP).
Popovich was named head coach of the West as a result of the NBA’s “Riley Rule,” which mandates that the same head coach can't lead an All-Star team in consecutive seasons. And so, despite the fact that the Golden State Warriors have the conference’s best record, Steve Kerr is ineligible this year, shifting the coaching burden onto Popovich’s shoulders instead.
From there, Popovich picked Hammon to serve on his All-Star staff.
At this point, Hammon is making history virtually every time she takes the floor -- so thanks for knocking on that glass ceiling for the rest of us, Coach.
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