Who Is Becky Hammon? New Details On The NBA's First Female Assistant Coach

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Who Is Becky Hammon? New Details On The NBA's First Female Assistant Coach

Who is Becky Hammon? Born Rebecca Lynn Hammon, she is a 42-year-old retired professional basketball player turned NBA assistant coach. Hammon has a long history of playing basketball. She grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota where she played basketball at Stevens High School. During her high school career Hammon received various accolades including being named South Dakota Miss Basketball, South Dakota Player of The Year and Class Athlete. She would move on to continue to play basketball for the Colorado State Rams in college. Hammon didn’t stop there, she started her professional career in basketball in 1999. She played for the teams New York Liberty and the San Antonio Silver Stars in the Women’s National Basketball Association. She became the lead point guard and the team co-captain during her time as a player for New York Liberty. When she moved on to play for the San Antonio Silver Stars, Hammon earned the nickname “Big Shot Becky” because of “her ability to hit shots in clutch moments.” Hammon also played for the Russian National Team in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics after becoming a naturalized Russian citizen.  In 2015 she was featured in an article in Marie Claire titled "The 8 Greatest Moments for Women in Sports"

Here's everything there is to know about Becky Hammon: NBA's first woman assistant coach who has continued to break boundaries in the world of sports.


An inside look into the life of the first woman assistant coach in the NBA. 

1. She was meant to play basketball

In Rapid City, it was hard for Hammon to find other girls who were interested in playing basketball. But she didn't have to worry because the men in her family were. According to Bleacher Report, her father Marty was passionate about the sport and was involved in a local recreation league. Hammon and her older brother Matt were always in attendance at the events and therefore grew to share that passion. Ron Riherd, a friend of Marty's who also played in the league said he first recognized that Hammon was a star after watching her shoot layups at one of the league games. "She was committed to being better, from that age on," he said. "She could handle the ball. She would shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot." At the age of eight, Hammon went from shooting layups from the sidelines to playing competively in a co-ed YMCA league. Hammon recalled the reaction of the males when they saw her skills and realized she was more than capable and worthy of being on the team. "When I was better than all the boys, even a grade, two grades ahead of me, they were like, 'Oh yeah, she can stay,'" she said. "'She can even bring up the ball.'"

Hammon's basketball career over the years.

2. She first realized she was special in high school

Hammon first realized that she had a talent for the sport when she started attending basketball camps in high school. She reminisced on the nearly 13 hour long camp days and how while all the other girls complained about being tired she would be eager to go back to the gym.  "So, I knew I was wired a little bit differently then," she said. "So, I was constantly learning, because I was constantly putting myself in situations where I could learn." Hammon would continue to practice perfecting her craft.  She received a scholarship to Colorado State University where she played point guard for the Colorado State Rams. She became an All-American three times and was named Colorado Sportswoman of the Year. Between 1998-1999 she was named Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Mountain Division Player of the Year and received the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award. In 2004, Hammon was inducted into the Colorado State University Sports Hall of Fame. 

​Hammon's top 5 plays while she was in the WNBA. 

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3. She became an assistant coach in 2014

The year before she became a coach, Hammon was playing professional basketball for the San Antonio Silver Stars when she tore her ACL in her left knee. According to Texas Monthly, unable to play basketball, Hammon reached out to the Spurs' head coach Gregg Popovich if she could sit in on a few practices. She had an interest in coaching. Hammon's request was approved and she spent the 2013-2014 season working with Popovich and his assistant coaches as a coaching intern. “She was in all our meetings, basically every day,” Popovich said. “She gave instructions in practice. We heard her opinions and she didn’t hesitate to give them. During that process, I learned to respect her knowledge of the game.” 

In the summer of 2014, Hammon announced her retirement from the Women's National Basketball Association and the Spurs quickly hired her as assistant coach. This made her the first full-time female coach in the NBA. According to TexasMonthly, while Hammon understood that she was breaking boundaries by being hired as an assistant coach, she didn’t want it to define her. “I’m happy that Pop hired me because of what I bring to the game, not because I’m a woman,” Hammon said. “I don’t want an opportunity because I’m a woman. I want an opportunity because I’m qualified.”

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Last month Hammon shared her story at the Women's Food Service Forum.

4. She was the first woman to be a head-coach

In 2015 Hammon was the head coach for the Spurs' Summer League team. She was able to coach her team to victory and received praise from the members. “She was great. She was just like any other coach,” Treveon Graham said. “She told us what we needed to do to go out there and perform. It’s great to be able to play with her for her first Summer League, so it was a great experience.” Other teams were still hesitant about hiring Hammon, but her victory made Popovich speak out again about her qualifications to be a head coach. 

5. She was born to coach

Hammon always had interest in being a coach after she retired. Throughout her basketball career she was in lead positions time after time, which made coaching seem like a natural next step. "When you've been around it, you know who can coach and who can't coach," Popovich said. "Becky is one of those people. She's a Steve Kerr. She's a Doc Rivers. She's those kinds of people. They have a feel for the game that they want to continue to participate in."

Hammon hopes her story will inspire others to pursue their dreams and break boundaries in the process. 

Alexis George is a writer who covers love, relationship advice, astrology, personality topics and celebrity news.