Becky Hammon said joining the San Antonio Spurs' staff as the first ever full-time, female assistant of an NBA team would have been "catastrophic" if she wasn't qualified.
From the San Antonio Express-News:
In fact, Popovich told Hammon months ago she would undergo extraordinary scrutiny before she could be considered a potential assistant coach hire.
“Pop told me, early on, 'As cool as it would be to hire you, you have to be qualified, and I have to make sure you're qualified,'” Hammon said. “I think that's the best way to go about it. It could be catastrophic if I wasn't qualified, and then it sets the whole thing back.”
Despite all efforts to make Hammon's hiring seem ordinary, there was no way to deny its significance.
“Obviously, the (historic first) is great, and it's a tremendous honor, but I think the bigger point is I'm getting hired because I'm capable, because of my basketball IQ and stuff that they've seen in me personally,” Hammon said. “I know I'm just thrilled for the opportunity to coach these unbelievable athletes and, from what I've known, unbelievable people.”
More: Spurs hire Becky Hammon as first female NBA assistant coach
Hammon, who plays for the San Antonio Stars of the WNBA, announced in July that she would retire at the end of this season. She has earned six All-Star appearances over sixteen seasons.
Hammon, 37, spent time around the Spurs during the 2013-14 season, attending film sessions, practices and coaches meetings.
- Chris Johnson