By Jennifer Roback
Becky Hammon, 44, started off her career as an athlete before heading to the NBA where she became the second woman in league history to be hired as an assistant coach. Now, after seven years, she is returning to the WNBA as the head coach of the Las Vegas Aces.
The news was announced on January 3, 2022, with Hammon stating that she feels as though she is ready to have her own team.
"A lot did go into this decision, a lot of sleepless nights," Hammon said, via ESPN. "I came to the conclusion that this was the best spot for me and my family, and an opportunity for me to sit in the big chair and be a head coach of a major professional sports league.
"I feel like I'm ready to have my own team. And this is the organization that made it very, very obvious they wanted me really, really bad. And so it's always good to be wanted."
Prior to Hammon's coaching career, she played 16 season in the WNBA following her graduation from Colorado State University. After her retirement in 2014, she then joined the San Antonio Spurs where she worked her way up to Gregg Popovich's top assistant and not because of her gender but because of her history.
“There’s no difference between a woman who knows the game and a man who knows the game,” Popovich said, according to The Washington Post. “It’s just another prejudice that probably has to be overcome, just like a lot of other prejudices in the world become less and less as people pay attention to them.”
While many were looking forward to seeing Hammon become the NBA's first female head coach, that position will have to wait just a little longer, with Hammon adding that she is unsure when that may happen.
"NBA jobs are hard to get," Hammon said to reporters on a video call. "In some ways, I feel like the NBA maybe is close. In other ways, I feel like they're a long ways off from hiring [a woman head coach]. I don't know when it could happen."
Hammon is scheduled to continue her job with the San Antonio Spurs for the remainder of the season before going the Aces for the upcoming WNBA season, scheduled to begin in May.
"Being the head coach of the Las Vegas Aces is a step forward and a step in the right direction for myself and for women's basketball," Hammon concluded. "I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this opportunity that I have. There's something to being a head coach."