After an impressive WNBA playing career, Becky Hammon transitioned to an assistant coaching role with the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich in 2014.
Hammon served an integral role as a member of the Spurs coaching staff until departing in 2022 when she became the head coach of the Las Vegas Aces. She led the team to a 26-10 regular season and ultimately the WNBA championship.
After the Aces defeated the Connecticut Sun in a 78-71 Game 4 victory in the WNBA Finals, Hammon became the first WNBA coach to win a title in their inaugural season when excluding the first-ever WNBA championship in 1997.
“Every hard thing that I’ve gone through has built something in me that I’ve needed down the road,” Hammon told ESPN. “And even though it sucks in the moment to not to be picked or to get hurt or whatever it might be, the hard stuff builds stuff in you that’s necessary for life, and you’ll use it down the road. It may not feel like it in that moment.
“For me, it’s not really about proving other people wrong, it’s about proving myself right.”
The coaching impact Hammon brought to the Aces was apparent. The half-court offense embraced floor spacing and the defensive strategy was modernized. A common theme within it all is ‘freedom’ for the players within the team’s structure.
“It’s freedom within structure,” Hammon said. “It’s like, ‘Here’s some structure, but I need you to be yourself.’ I want everybody to authentically be themselves because I want to authentically be myself.”
Hammon interviewed for various NBA head coaching roles but never was chosen. By no means did she have to prove her coaching ability with her role as a member of the Aces. However, she has shown what those teams missed out on.
“Sure, if my name was Brian and I played 16 years in the NBA, I would have been hired and fired a few times as an NBA coach already,” Hammon said, chuckling. “That’s just what it is.”
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