The NBA Summer League often serves as a training ground where rookie and younger players cut their teeth before the season starts in the fall. But just as much as it aims to whip players into shape, Summer League also gives the teams' coaching staff an opportunity to step up and shine.
Or, in Becky Hammon's case, to step up and make history.
Hammon, 38, just completed her first year as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, which made her the first full-time female coach in the NBA. She extended her groundbreaking role on Saturday by taking the helm as head coach for the Spurs' game against the New York Knicks. With this, Hammon becomes the first woman to serve as head coach in the NBA Summer League.
The Spurs fell short to the Knicks, 78-73, and Hammon acknowledged that she still has a lot to learn.
"Got the first one under my belt," Hammon told reporters in Las Vegas after the game.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity. I feel like I'm just a flower that's getting great roots, but far from blooming," she added.
Hammon has had the opportunity to learn from one of the league's greats while working alongside Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who first invited Hammon to come by Spurs practices last spring before hiring her full-time in August.
The NBA Summer League has served as a venue for progress before: During last year's summer matchups, Natalie Nakase, the assistant video coordinator for the Los Angeles Clippers, served as one of the team's assistant coaches, which at the time made her the first woman to sit on an NBA bench.
Following her historic day, Hammon took to Instagram to thank her supporters and post some photos from the game.
And while we've yet to see a woman serve as a head coach in the regular season, with the gains Hammon is making, hopefully it won't be much longer until we do.