San Antonio Spurs Hire First Paid Female Coach in NBA History

It would be understandable if the average sports fan doesn’t know who Becky Hammon is, since the WNBA has a fraction of the following that its male counterpart does, and subsequently receives less attention, for better or for worse. That said, there’s a reason why the average sports fan can’t get a job with the San Antonio Spurs, who continued to demonstrate their ability to find talent in places not often explored by the rest of the league by hiring Hammon as an assistant coach before she’d even been allowed to enjoy an ounce of retirement.

Hammon, a six-time WNBA All Star who played in the league for 16 seasons and will retire later this month, first connected with the Spurs last year, when she was rehabbing a knee injury in San Antonio, and spent a lot of 2013 with the team in an unofficial capacity. While she is the second woman to serve as an NBA assistant coach — a decade ago, in the 2001-2002 season, Lisa Boyer was hired by the Cleveland Cavaliers — she is the first to be employed as a full-time, paid member of the coaching staff.

“Having observed her working with our team this past season,” Spurs head coach Greg Popovich said, “I’m confident her basketball IQ, work ethic, and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs.” San Antonio are currently the defending NBA champions, having defeated the Miami Heat in five games this June.