SAN ANTONIO (AP) Becky Hammon knew the timing was right. After a thrilling victory by the San Antonio Stars on Tuesday night, the veteran guard told her teammates that she was going to retire at the end of the season.
The team announced her decision Wednesday.
”It was emotional for me. I was so glad I got to do it after a win not a loss,” Hammon said in a phone interview. ”With college and professionally and overseas, I’ve given 20 years of my life to a high level of basketball. I worked a tireless amount of hours. The overwhelming support I got back from the little press release that the Stars put out has been incredible.”
Hammon is the Stars’ all-time leader in assists, points per game, and 3-pointers made. The 37-year-old Hammon is a six-time All-Star who ranks seventh in WNBA history in total points (5,756), second in three-point field goals made (817), fourth in assists (1,663), sixth in games played (440) and first in free-throw percentage (89.6 percent, minimum 300 attempts).
”I’ve been mulling the decision over the past three or four months,” the 16-year WNBA veteran said. ”I just decided that it’s the right time, the right moment and the right place. I wanted to let some things die down and give myself to mid-July to see where my body’s at. I knew the time was right now.”
Hammon said she’d like to go into coaching or television. She spent some time this past winter, while rehabbing a knee injury, with the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs and coach Gregg Popovich who had nothing but praise for her.
She has been all over the world playing basketball in Russia, Italy, Israel and a few other countries in the winter.
The South Dakota native suited up for Russia in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and counts winning a bronze medal at the Beijing Games as one of her career highlights.
”Becky Hammon has made a lasting mark on the San Antonio Stars and the WNBA,” Stars general manager and head coach Dan Hughes said in a release. ”She has worked tirelessly to become the best she could be on and off the floor. She has inspired in a wonderful way. The beauty of her game has been an amazing thing to have had a front row seat for.”
The former Colorado State star signed with the New York Liberty after going unpicked in the 1999 WNBA Draft. She helped guide New York to six playoff appearances, and with the Stars reached the finals only to fall to Detroit in 2008.
”Becky Hammon epitomizes what the WNBA is all about: she has truly shown the world what is possible,” WNBA president Laurel J. Richie said in a statement. ”Having gone undrafted in 1999, Becky was determined to make her dream of becoming a professional athlete come true. Hard work and talent got her noticed and earned her a roster spot, and she never looked back. In addition to all her accomplishments, Becky’s feisty leadership and no-look passes have made her a fan favorite. We thank Becky for all her contributions to the growth of this wonderful game and we wish her all the best on her future endeavors.”
Hammon is averaging 8.1 points this season for the Stars, who are in third place in the Western Conference.