Newly hired Kings assistant coach Lindsey Harding said "being afraid of the unknown" is the biggest thing keeping women from climbing to head-coaching jobs in the NBA.

By Charlotte Carroll
July 24, 2019

Newly hired Kings assistant coach Lindsey Harding said that "being afraid of the unknown" is the biggest thing that's keeping women from climbing to head-coaching jobs in the NBA, she told ESPN. 

Harding, who starred at Duke and in the WNBA before coaching with the 76ers last season, was hired Friday by Sacramento.

"The question is always, 'Will the guys respect you? Can [women] coach men?' But when you get [to the NBA], the guys aren't the problem at all. That's the most fun part," Harding said. "I think the whole thing is just being uncomfortable, or being comfortable in the unknown." 

She told ESPN that she developed great relationships with several players with Philadelphia, adding the minute she says who she is and what she's done, there's "automatic respect." 

Reiterating that the players have never been the issue, Harding said, "I think if you speak to any other woman that is coaching here, they would say the same thing about the players," Harding said. "They've been fantastic. The players have never been the issue. I guess it's just being afraid of the unknown.

"Because you can't say we don't know basketball when you have someone who has played in the WNBA or played professionally [overseas] for years, you can't really say that."

Harding became the first black woman to become a full-time NBA scout after a nine-year WNBA career when Philadelphia hired her before the last year. The 76ers promoted her to player development coach in April of 2019.

The 35-year-old Harding joins an expanding list of female assistant coaches in the NBA.

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