We’ve heard many coaches, players and analysts speak about the hirings of Becky Hammon and Nancy Lieberman by, respectively, the San Antonio Spurs and the Sacramento Kings. The moves have been met with near-universal praise, often with a message of “it’s about time” or “this is a sign of progress.” But these have all been prepared statements, or at least statements made in the usual press-filled environments. More rare are the candid quotes from players, caught unaware by the question and giving an unprepared response.
TMZ Sports approached Courtney Lee and asked him what he thought of the recent hirings, and Lee wasted no time emphatically supporting the moves. What was just as interesting and promising as Lee’s vote of support was his choice of Sheryl Swoopes as the woman he’d most like to learn from.
Swoopes was one of the WNBA’s all-time best players – a three-time MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, four-time champion and six-time All-Star. Any player, man or woman, would be lucky to learn from her.
Perhaps this goes to show that we are making too big of a deal out of this. Not necessarily of the hirings, because they deserve to be greatly publicized, but of how a player would receive a female coach. Game recognize game, and players will respond to any accomplished player, no matter in what league they plied their trade.