Two years ago, Becky Hammon was the sensation of the summer as she coached the San Antonio Spurs’ summer league team to a championship in Las Vegas. The San Antonio Silver Stars became a household name to hoop fanatics thanks to the coaching job she did that year.
But since that magical summer, there’s always been a wonder of when the coaching encore would come for Hammon. A couple of college’s came calling for Hammon’s services, but instead she chose to stay in San Antonio. But unfortunately for hoop heads that wanted to see Hammon coach a team with more than fringe NBA players, it hadn’t happened yet.
That chance came Sunday, as Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and top assistant Etore Messina took the day off and let Hammon coach the first half of the Spurs’ preseason game against the Denver Nuggets. Hammon spoke to the media after the game to discuss the opportunity she was given to coach.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for me,” Hammon said. “But we’re a teaching program, and that comes directly from [Popovich]. So for him to give us this opportunity and the guys here a different voice, that’s what his [coaching] tree is kind of all about. It’s mentoring and bringing people along.”
“For me, [assistant] Will Hardy, coach [James] Borrego and Ime [Udoka], it’s a nice opportunity to get out there, hold the clipboard and kind of be in the action,” Hammon said as she shifted toward the door leading to the Spurs locker room.
“My feet hurt, though.”
It’s a great program that Popovich runs, as it’s produced countless NBA executives and NBA Head Coaches. Mike Budenholzer, Steve Kerr and Mike Brown are three of the many coaches that branch off from the Popovich tree. Which if you’re someone like Hammon, the next time she’s patrolling the sidelines she might want to get better footwear.