National Basketball Association
NBA's first female head coach? Buzz building around Becky Hammon
National Basketball Association

NBA's first female head coach? Buzz building around Becky Hammon

Published Jun. 3, 2021 10:01 p.m. ET

The ideal leader of men is usually somebody who is strong and commands respect. Nowhere does it say that leader can't be a woman.

And while there has never been a woman to hold the position of head coach in the NBA, that day could arrive sooner rather than later, as there has been buzz building around a certain job that just came open in Boston and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon.

Hammon's name started popping up Wednesday, not long after news broke that Celtics coach Brad Stevens would be bumped up into a front office role.

And at this point, that shouldn't be a surprise. 

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After all, Hammon has spent the last seven seasons serving as an assistant to Gregg Popovich, one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. Popovich has been effusive in praising Hammon for her skill and dedication and has said he believes she is on the verge of something special.

It should come as no surprise that one of the NBA's greatest minds has a certain reverence for Hammon, seeing as how she is one of the greatest point guards to ever grace a WNBA court – a six-time WNBA All-Star and a four-time All-WNBA selection. She even led the league in assists in 2007.

Hammon's fearlessness on the court made her an all-time great, and it is the same mindset and mentality that she is showing as a coach. That fearlessness will carry over, she said, the moment she gets the call to be a head coach.

"In some ways, I feel like it could be in a year. In other ways, it could be 10 years," she said recently. "I’m not really sure. What I’m sure of is, I’ll be ready."

And what better place to get that head coaching start than with a historic franchise like the Boston Celtics?

With Stevens getting a promotion, the franchise is undergoing an active head coaching search. Adding to the intrigue, Stevens sang the praises of Hammon as recently as April 30.

"I know what people think about her, and I know how well she is respected all across the league by the players and the coaches," he said.

All of this has led to a growing buzz that Hammon could be the first female head coach in NBA history.

Hammon has already made history this season as the first woman to serve as an active NBA head coach when Popovich was ejected from a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

And as Tom Petrini of KENS5 pointed out, being an assistant under Popovich has proven to be advantageous when it comes to getting a head coaching job.

"Head-coaching candidates do seem to grow on Pop's ever-expanding tree of influence throughout the league," he said. "Monty Williams' Suns have been incredibly good this year, and Steve Kerr has had a bit of success with the Warriors.

"The series between the top-seeded Jazz and upstart Grizzlies features four coaches from the Spurs' system. The list goes on and includes Brooklyn, Philly, Milwaukee. You get the idea."

Whether her time comes now or later, Hammon has already proven to a quality candidate to be an NBA head coach. Will she be the one to make history?

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