On July 11, former WNBA veteran Becky Hammon made history by becoming the first female head coach to lead an NBA team in a summer league. After losing in her debut, the San Antonio Spurs didn't fall again, winning six consecutive games, including a 93-90 victory over Phoenix on Monday, to capture the third annual Las Vegas Summer League championship. Did we mention she has been coaching in the NBA for only 11 months? Flash back through the past year with Hammon on the sideline.
In August 2014, the Spurs hired Hammon as an assistant coach, making her the first full-time, paid female assistant on an NBA coaching staff. Two months later, Hammon traveled with the team to Berlin, Germany, for the 2014 Global Games.
Spurs veteran Tony Parker, right, and Hammon have been friends for years. Hammon played for the San Antonio Stars from 2007-14.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has compared Hammon to Steve Kerr and Avery Johnson. "She knows when to talk and when to shut up. That's as simple as you can put it, and a lot of people don't figure that out," Popovich said. "Our players really respond to her. She talks the game. She understands the game." In this image, the two coaches were watching a practice as part of the NBA Global Games in October in Istanbul, Turkey.
Hammon, who is a few months older than shooting guard Manu Ginobili, and the Spurs lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs. Both Hammon and Ginobli were born in 1977.
Hammon credits her 16-year WNBA career for leading her down a path to coaching in the NBA. "Without the WNBA, I don't get to hone my skills as a basketball player, I'm not in hundreds and hundreds of film sessions as a player, I'm not out there leading a team on the court," she told WNBA.com recently. "Without the WNBA, I go to Colorado State, maybe I play overseas for two years, then I come back and get a normal job. So the WNBA, it's every reason why I'm standing here."
On July 11, Hammon broke ground as the first female coach of an NBA summer league team. "I just think it's important [for] society that women be rewarded for their brains just as much as any guy," Hammon said after the Spurs lost 78-73 to the Knicks' summer league team in her head coaching debut.
Hammon and San Antonio beat Phoenix 93-90 on Monday in the Las Vegas Summer League championship game at the Thomas & Mack Center.