Becky Hammon excited for ‘own team’, talks WNBA connection to NBA

Former WNBA star and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon talks about leading her own professional basketball team with the Las Vegas Aces. 

Basketball star Becky Hammon has been circling the top as a candidate for leading professional basketball teams for years, but it was the Las Vegas Aces who finally gave her a chance to shine.

Hammon, who played for the Aces when they were the San Antonio Stars, had her number retired by the organization in her honor. After more than a decade since playing for the Stars, Hammon feels ready to lead her own team to victory.

Hammon, who made history as the NBA’s first female full-time assistant coach in 2014 and the first female acting head coach in 2020, understands the importance of promoting female leaders in professional sports organizations.

Longtime WNBA star and NBA coach Becky Hammon is ready to lead the Las Vegas Aces

As Hammon points out, it’s all too common for professional sports organizations to be led by men, even in women’s sports. Seven out of 12 NBA teams were coached by men during the 2021 season,  and in the history of the league, only 44 out of 86 total WNBA coaches have been women.

Hammon played professional basketball in the United States and Russia from 1999 to 2014. During that time, she was a six-time WNBA All-Star as she played for the New York Liberty and San Antonio Stars. After retiring and beginning her coaching career, she returned to Houston, where she coached alongside legendary NBA coach Gregg Popovich. During that time, it seems Hammon always had her eye on the NBA, as she revealed that she’s stealing plays from the league for quite some time.

Hammon represents a unique perspective as a WNBA star who also made a name for herself in NBA coaching circles. Pau Gasol wrote this about Hammon in an open letter about female coaches in the NBA:

“I’ve played with some of the best players of this generation… and I’ve played under two of the sharpest minds in the history of sports, in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. And I’m telling you: Becky Hammon can coach. I’m not saying she can coach pretty well. I’m not saying she can coach enough to get by. I’m not saying she can coach almost at the level of the NBA’s male coaches. I’m saying: Becky Hammon can coach NBA basketball. Period.”

Hammon may have unfairly been passed over in the NBA, but in the WNBA, she begins the second phase of her illustrious WNBA career — this time, as a head coach.