May 24, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon watches from the bench during the second half against the Indiana Fever at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
As if winning five NBA titles and being a model of basketball greatness weren’t enough, the San Antonio Spurs added another “best franchise” notch to their belt.
Gregg Popovich doing loads for NBA by hiring Becky Hammon
There is a profound difference between great teams and great franchises in sports. Great teams are groups of players who achieve the high point of success. Great franchises? They do that but also bring credibility, advancement and wealth to the league they play in. Few teams in all of pro American sports have done that better than the San Antonio Spurs. Not only are they tied for the most NBA championships since the new millenium began with five, they have achieved that greatness through the classic style of a team-first mentality exemplified by future Hall of Fame coach Gregg Popovich.
That beacon of light to the rest of the league got a little brighter when news came down the team planned to almost nonchalantly shatter an age-old barrier by hiring Becky Hammon as an assistant on their coaching staff. She is the first female to hold such a position. A six-time WNBA All-Star, Hammon has a reputation for intelligence and hard work, two things the Spurs covet in both their players and their coaches. That more than public relations and a feel-good story are the reasons San Antonio made the hire.
Nobody can say for sure how much success hiring Becky Hammon will bring the San Antonio Spurs on the court. What it does though is unlock yet another door for women to coach in the NBA. How long before names like Muffet McGraw or Kim Mulkey start to get consideration for possible head jobs in the pros? That is what this simple hiring can help usher in and the Spurs should be applauded for it.
Obviously the move is about winning, as are all coaching decisions in any sport. Still, there is nothing wrong with making a move that feels right on more than just one level. Welcome to the NBA, Becky Hammon.