Becky Hammon Rumors
If Becky Hammon is disappointed when we get on a Zoom call on Wednesday afternoon, she doesn’t show it. Earlier that morning, the Oklahoma City Thunder announced the hiring of a new head coach—and despite being widely considered a top contender for the role, instead of announcing the first female head coach in the National Basketball Association, the organization named the zillionth man. Still, Hammon, who has been a top assistant coach for the Spurs since finishing her WNBA career with the San Antonio Stars in 2014, sits comfortably in a purple checked blazer with her collar popped, as swaggering a personality as any you’d find in the NBA.
OKC’s loss is San Antonio’s gain, though, and the city has embraced Hammon, both in her multiple All-Star seasons with the Stars and as she’s shattered any number of glass ceilings with the Spurs—as the first woman to win a Summer League title (which she did in 2015), the first woman to be part of an All-Star Game coaching staff (the following year), and the first woman to interview for an NBA head coaching job (in 2017, with the Milwaukee Bucks). To commemorate San Antonio’s bond with the 43-year-old star, there’s now also a mural of Hammon in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood, painted by Houston artist Sebastien Boileau and featured in a new short film from documentary platform 60 Second Docs. Texas Monthly caught up with Hammon to talk about the mural, her connection to San Antonio, and why she doesn’t just go around bashing hockey.
Texas Monthly: You’ve been in San Antonio for thirteen years. What’s your relationship like with the city? Becky Hammon: I love the city. I you know, since I got traded here in 2007 from New York, I bought a house. I’ve taken a residency. It just felt like home immediately. Texas feels like a nice mix of where I came from, in the sense that I grew up in South Dakota, but then I lived in New York for about eight or nine years. Texas is like a nice middle ground to those two extremes. And then I love San Antonio and I love what it represents. It’s multicultural. The people are warm, they’re hardworking, and it kind of fits in with my personality. It’s a nice mix for me.
TM: Are there ups and downs that come with being a trailblazer? Is that just exciting or is it exhausting? Becky Hammon: It’s both. When you’re a professional player, people come and they see that game and they appreciate your skill and they love watching you perform. But those people have not seen the hours and hours and hours and hours behind the scene, the back end of that hard work, the back end of those disappointments, the baggage. You get to see the shiny finished model. And it’s the same thing with this journey. There are so many things that are great and inspiring and, you know, even miraculous on some levels. But there’s a back end to that, too—to being the first. You’re taking a lot of nicks and scrapes that people don’t see. And I’m not talking physical, I’m talking emotionally and mentally. There’s the praise that this is the most amazing thing. And then there’s the pushback. A lot of people don’t want me here sitting in this chair. There are other people that want to be sitting in this chair that I’m sitting in. So I can’t really be concerned with either one. I’ve got to be concerned with doing a great job, being who I am and getting better so that, yes, I am the first, but I definitely will not be the last.
There are plenty of murals dotting the city of San Antonio featuring the San Antonio Spurs. The murals encompass past Spurs greats to current players on the roster. And now coach Becky Hammon has her own. Friend of the Spurs Zone, SA Nostalgia Clothing, snapped a photo of a new mural featuring the team’s assistant coach. It is located on Broadway St. in the Lincoln Heights area.
San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon and former Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger are among more than a dozen candidates who are expected to participate in a first round of virtual interviews for the Indiana Pacers coaching job, sources told ESPN. The Pacers are embarking on a wide-ranging search that has included seeking permission to speak to several assistant coaches in the league, including the Spurs’ Hammon and Will Hardy, Miami’s Dan Craig and Chris Quinn, Dallas’ Jamahl Mosley and Stephen Silas, Milwaukee’s Darvin Ham and Charles Lee, Orlando’s Pat Delany, Minnesota’s David Vanterpool, Philadelphia’s Ime Udoka, Brooklyn’s Jacque Vaughn and Portland’s Nate Tibbetts.
Does this mean he’s hiring Hammon? Of course not. Nor am I saying he should. That’s not the point of this story. Point is: Hammon is a fascinating candidate, and the Pacers have a history of being out in front on this issue. And the NBA is inching closer to its first female head coach. Eleven women were NBA assistants this past season, including former Notre Dame star Niele Ivey of the Memphis Grizzlies. She’s not there anymore; Notre Dame hired her in April to replace McGraw.