Becky Hammon took another step toward her aspiration of becoming the NBA’s first female head coach when she guided the San Antonio Spurs for the first half Sunday in a 122-100 preseason victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets.
Hammon held the clipboard while San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich watched the game from the stands. She also handled the postgame media session.
The Spurs led 66-54 at halftime. Assistant Will Hardy ran the Spurs in the second half.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for me,” the 40-year-old Hammon said afterward. “But we’re a teaching program, and that comes directly from (Popovich). So for him to give us this opportunity and the guys hear a different voice, that’s what his (coaching) tree is kind of all about. It’s mentoring and bringing people along.”
It marked the first time Hammon received the opportunity to coach the Spurs’ regular team. She coached San Antonio’s summer league squad for two seasons, winning the title in 2015.
The former WNBA All-Star is beginning her fourth season on the Spurs’ staff, so the latest accomplishment wasn’t a big deal to the players.
“I know it’s different because she’s the first (full-time) female assistant coach (in NBA history), but she’s a coach,” veteran San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili said. “And she is doing a great job. She is smart. She understands the game. She’s another coach we respect.”