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>Becky Hammon Strives to See More Women Become NBA Coaches

Some people grow up wanting to enjoy a simple life, while others want to become the very best at what they do. Becky Hammon is most definitely the latter, as she always strove to be the very greatest at anything she found interesting. The American-Russian former basketball player is a groundbreaker in the National Basketball League, as she is a woman coach.

Becky Hammon's Journey

Basketball was always a key aspect of Becky Hammon's life. She knew from an early age that she was very good at sports. She represented her high school, Stevens High School, in Rapid City, South Dakota before going to college.

Hammon was admitted to Colorado State, where she played from 1995 to 1999, before entering the WNBA Draft. She was picked in the 25th position, but was among the first few point guards chosen in the draft.

Hammon went on to play in the WNBA from 1999 to 2014, winning numerous honors in that time.

The superstar was in the WNBA All-Star team on six occasions, while she was in the All-WNBA First Team in two instances. She was also the assists leader in the league in 2007, while she was voted among the Top 15 WNBA Players of All Time in 2011. Such a resume makes it evident why Hammon got into coaching after retirement.

Entry into the NBA

An injury she sustained as a player opened a door for Hammon that she may not have expected. As she was recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury in 2013, Hammon had a lot of time to rehabilitate and think about her next steps.

She spent much of that time with the San Antonio Spurs, one of the most successful NBA franchises since the NBA latest expansion. Hammon would attend practices, team meetings, coaches meetings, and games.

Head coach Gregg Poppovich and others would ask for her opinion on various matters relating to team chemistry and upcoming games. Given her nature, Hammon was never shy about voicing her opinion.

By August 2014, Hammon had gotten a job as an assistant coach for the Spurs, making her the second female NBA coach in history. The first was Lisa Boyer, who was a volunteer assistant for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2001 under John Lucas.

Sexism and Sport

There is no denying that sexism is a serious issue in sport, which is why Hammon staying in her position as an NBA coach is so impressive. While there may be snide remarks from fans and the odd ex-player, most are very impressed with Hammon.

The likes of Pau Gasol, who is considered a legend of the sport given his time in the NBA and internationally with Spain, only have positive things to say about Becky Hammon.

Gasol famously penned an open letter where he spoke about the qualities of Hammon and the sexism attached to criticism of her hiring as a coach by the Spurs in 2014.

His letter may have changed a lot of hearts and minds on the issue, among fans and current NBA professionals.

Acting as a Trailblazer

Hammon is now well established as an NBA coach, as she is in her sixth year in the job. She hopes to go a step further in the near future by becoming a head coach. However, she admitted in a recent interview with NBA.com that getting such jobs was not so easy. She spoke about interviewing for several head coaching positions, only for the job to go to someone else.

While she spoke about the issue, Hammon acknowledges that she does face an uphill battle in her quest. There are only 30 head coaching positions in the NBA, while there are countless male coaches, assistant coaches, and retiring players who are also up for those positions.

She does hope that she can eventually get such a role, excel, and show that more women coaches can be successful in the NBA. Change does take a lot of time, and it may appear slow for those who are the first, but the winds are blowing in the right direction for Hammon and other aspiring women basketball coaches.

Will Women Coaches Become the Norm?

The rise of Hammon within the coaching circles of the NBA has sparked hope for women interested in basketball. Those who play in the WNBA, or begin coaching at an earlier age, may see a path into the men's game.

The age-old suggestion that only men would successfully coach male athletes at top level sport is being proven wrong with each passing day. As Hammon finds success with the Spurs, there is no doubt that she is opening doors for other women to find similar positions at other teams.

A woman being an NBA head coach seemed absurd five years ago, but it is very possible within the next five years. Multiple teams having female head coaches may be a little far off, but progress is most definitely being made.

Enjoy the Upcoming NBA Season

With Becky Hammon as part of the San Antonio Spurs coaching staff, under the guidance of Gregg Poppovich, they will be hoping to have a great season.

There are plenty of other teams vying for the NBA title, including the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. We can never discount the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, given they are led by Kevin Durant and LeBron James respectively.

The upcoming NBA season is sure to be one of the greatest in the sport's history, as so many great teams are vying for a single prize.