Former WNBA player Becky Hammon has become the first woman to direct a team in an NBA contest, describing the experience as “a big deal, it’s a substantial moment."
Hammon made history Wednesday in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 121-107 win over the San Antonio Spurs, taking over the Spurs’ bench duties when head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected in the first half.
“I’ve been a part of this organization, I got traded here in 2007, so I’ve been in San Antonio and part of the Spurs and sports organization with the Stars and everything for 13 years," Hammon said. “So I have a lot of time invested, and they have a lot of time invested in me, in building me and getting me better."
Popovich received a technical foul and was thrown out of the game with 3:56 remaining in the second quarter for arguing with a referee as his team trailed the Lakers 52-41.
“He officially pointed at me. That was it," Hammon said. “Said, ‘You got ’em,’ and that was it. Very Pop-like."
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was among those to congratulate Hammon on social media saying she hopes more ex-WNBA players can land coaching jobs in the NBA.
“Congrats, @BeckyHammon. You may be the first, but I know you certainly won’t be the last."
Hammon is in her seventh season on the San Antonio coaching staff. Hammon was a six-time all-star in the WNBA with teams in New York and Texas.