Who will be the First Female Head Coach in the NBA?

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By Steven Lee, @leesteven55 (SMU)

Becky Hammon and Gregg Popovich in San Antonio Spurs’ practice. Photo via ESPN.

Becky Hammon and Gregg Popovich in San Antonio Spurs’ practice. Photo via ESPN.

With the recent comment about the possibility of NBA teams having a female head coach by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, people are delving into candidates for who may soon be the first female head coach in the NBA history.

To this date, there are only two assistant coaches on the staff who are women in the NBA: Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs and Nancy Lieberman of the Sacramento Kings. Many experts and coaches of the NBA, including future Hall of Fame coach Gregg Popovich, firmly believe that Hammon is the closest to becoming the first female coach in the NBA.

“She talks the game. She understands the game. So for all these reasons, you really know she’s got that same sort of Avery Johnson, Steve Kerr, (Mike) Budenholzer-type thing,” said Gregg Popovich, who currently is coaching for the San Antonio Spurs with Hammon.

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Comparing Hammon to coaches like Mike Budenholzer, who also was an assistant coach under Popovich before becoming the head coach for the Atlanta Hawks, Popovich sees Hammon’s coaching potential and believes that she can one day become the first female head coach in the NBA.

Hammon has made a strong impression on basketball fans ever since she first entered the NBA as an assistant coach. In 2013, after injuring her knee in a game against the Los Angeles Sparks, Hammon attended practices, coaches’ meetings, and games with the Spurs. In August 2014, she became the first woman in history to be a full-time assistant coach in the NBA. Then, in 2015 she became the first woman head coach in NBA Summer League history and led the Spurs to the Las Vegas Summer League title.

According to Silver, he wants a female head coach in the league “sooner rather than later.” He stated in the interview that he will make an effort to “recruit equally from pools of potential women as we do from men” and that there will be a dramatic increase in the representation of women in the league.

Considering that Becky Hammon has proved to be a good, if not great, coach and that she has the full support from Gregg Popovich and basketball fans around the world, it would be a no surprise if she would succeed Gregg Popovich as the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs sometime in the future.


About the Author: Steven Lee is a junior at Southern Methodist University majoring in Sports Management. He is interested in working as an event manager or operations manager for any professional sports teams. You can connect with Steven on LinkedIn here.

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