Becky Hammon made waves when she became the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs after Gregg Popovich’s ejection Wednesday. The world took notice.
While things didn’t go their way on the court Wednesday, the San Antonio Spurs made history in more important ways. “It’s a substantial moment,” Becky Hammon said to the press after becoming the first female head coach in a regular-season NBA game. In a moment we all knew would come eventually, Gregg Popovich was ejected after what he felt were missed foul calls against the Los Angeles Lakers.
With one quick point and a “you got ’em” from Coach Popovich, Hammon then took the reins as acting head coach in the second quarter. Just like that, Becky was suddenly the first female head coach in the history of the major U.S. sports leagues.
“It’s a beautiful thing just to hear her barking out calls and sets,” said LeBron. “She’s very passionate about the game. Congrats to her and congrats for our league.”
The Spurs’ go-to weapon DeMar DeRozan also had nothing but high praise for Hammon’s sideline efforts over the years.
DeMar DeRozan on being coached by Becky Hammon: “Becky’s definitely been instrumental for us. She’s quick on her feet, understanding defensive coverages, where we should be.”
— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) December 31, 2020
“When she speaks, we are all ears,” added DeRozan.
Other NBA stars also offered their congratulations to Becky, who undoubtedly will be a full-time head coach in this league very soon. “Congrats, Becky Hammon!” said former Spurs center Pau Gasol on Twitter.
Two-time All-Star Andre Drummond also acknowledged the history Hammon made in the game:
Two-time MVP and three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry had two simple words for the breakthrough:
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) December 31, 2020
While rising star Ja Morant offered his own kudos:
salute becky hammon ??? @BeckyHammon
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) December 31, 2020
Legendary Laker Magic Johnson also got in on the act Thursday morning, giving his own props:
Congratulations to Spurs Coach Becky Hammon for being the first woman in NBA history to coach a NBA game!! ??
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) December 31, 2020
Two barrier-breaking women offer their congrats
While praise from such substantial names is great to see, I saved the best ones for last. Seeing as Hammon broke down another barrier for women with her achievement, it’s only fitting she gets recognized by other female pioneers.
Late Wednesday night, tennis legend Billie Jean King paid tribute to Becky Hammon on Twitter:
Last night, history was made as @BeckyHammon became not only the first female head coach in #NBA history, but also the first female head coach in the history of the 4 major U.S. sport leagues (MLB, NHL, NFL & NBA).
See it. Be it.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) December 31, 2020
King had several firsts in her illustrious career, including being the first woman to be named Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsperson of the Year” and the first female athlete to earn more than $100,000 in prize money in a single season. She also defeated Bobby Riggs in a highly-publicized “Battle of the Sexes” match in 1973 in an effort to raise awareness for equal pay.
The incoming Vice President also offered her congratulations to Hammon, assuring she believes this is just the beginning for female head coaches:
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) December 31, 2020
Come January 20th, Harris will become the first woman to serve as a U.S. Vice President.
Something tells me Becky Hammon will be the full-time head coach of the San Antonio Spurs before too long, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Hammon’s legacy only keeps growing in the Alamo City. I mean, she’s already had multiple murals painted on downtown buildings, and with good reason.
Congratulations, Becky Hammon. I can’t wait to see what you do next.