Basketball News: Becky Hammon reveals why she switched from the NBA to the WNBA as the new head coach of the Las Vegas Aces

Basketball News
Source: Skysports

Basketball News: Mark Davis, the owner of the Las Vegas Aces, did not appoint Becky Hammon as the WNBA franchise’s next head coach out of sympathy, stardom, or public relations savvy. He hired Hammon because she is a ready-to-go head coach.

The WNBA’s gain became the NBA’s squandered opportunity in December when Hammon was named Bill Laimbeer’s successor, reportedly becoming the league’s highest-paid head coach in the process.

With the San Antonio Spurs in 2014, Hammon became the first full-time female assistant in NBA history, and in December 2020, she broke another glass ceiling by becoming the first female acting head coach in league history, replacing Gregg Popovich following his ejection against the Los Angeles Lakers.

She spearheaded a pool of experienced female applicants linked to the seven head coaching jobs at the time, prompting queries about why Hammon and his colleagues did not receive offers, which trumped naive questions about a female coach’s credentials.

Hammon was Popovich’s longest-serving employee and had been mentioned as a prospective replacement. The WNBA pounced on the opportunity Davis, the Aces, and the NBA had passed on.

“This is a positive move,” Hammon added. “Being the head coach of the Las Vegas Aces is a huge step forward and in the correct direction for me and for women’s basketball in general, and I don’t believe I can overstate the significance of this opportunity.” This, I believe, is more conducive to progress.

“Being a head coach has certain advantages. People always stated two things to me during (NBA) head coaching interviews: ‘You’ve just been in San Antonio, and you’ve never been a head coach.’ Right now, (owner) Mark Davis and (team president) Nikki (Fargas) spoke with me and said, ‘That’s a head coach right now.'”

Hammon, a six-time WNBA All-Star in 16 seasons with the New York Liberty and San Antonio Silver Stars, will finish the season with the Spurs before taking over full-time in Las Vegas.

In the NBA’s Summer League, the 44-year-old has coached the Spurs three times, becoming the first female head coach to win a championship in 2015.

The Indiana Pacers interviewed Hammon in 2020 before selecting the one-and-done Nate Bjorkgren, and the Milwaukee Bucks interviewed her in 2017 while looking for a new general manager.

Teresa Weatherspoon, the assistant coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, Kara Lawson, the women’s head coach of the Duke Blue Devils, and Dawn Staley, the women’s head coach of South Carolina and Team USA, were all linked to at least one of the head coaching jobs in the summer alongside Hammon. The search for the NBA’s first female conductor continues, but for how much longer?

“In some ways, I feel like I was very close, I was very close (to being an NBA head coach),” Hammon said. “This isn’t really about the NBA or the WNBA; it’s about me being ready to have a team and wanting to sit in that chair, and then being offered with the opportunity to do so, and you know, NBA jobs are hard to come by.”

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