Becky Hammon has become just the second woman to hold a formal NBA assistant coaching position, as the Spurs announced in a press release today that they’ve hired her for their staff. Lisa Boyer was on the Cavs bench in 2001/02. Natalie Nakase served as an assistant coach in the summer league with the Clippers this year.
“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said in the team’s statement. “Having observed her working with our team this past season, I’m confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs.”
Hammon will team with fellow Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, who joined the staff earlier this summer in an unusual, though not unprecedented, jump from overseas. David Blatt became the first coach to go from leading an overseas club to a head coaching position in the NBA when the Cavs hired him in June. The NBA also broke ground this year when the Nets signed Jason Collins, who became the first openly gay male athlete in the NBA, NFL or Major League Baseball.
The Spurs made Hammon an unofficial coaching intern of sorts this past season when she accepted their invitation for her to shadow the coaching staff during games, practices and meetings, as Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News detailed in February. The 37-year-old Hammon is in her final season as a WNBA player as she wraps up a 16-year career in the league. She’s spent the past eight summers as a member of the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars, who fall under the same ownership umbrella as the Spurs.