From Tottenham to the WNBA title: Becky Hammon, a pioneering journey

That Becky Hammon was the first “junior” coach to lead her team to the WNBA title (3-1 final win over the Connecticut Sun), three weeks after she was voted Coach of the Year, is not surprising. It’s less important, finally, than seeing her land off the bench at the Las Vegas Ice, in January: Before she made history in her own way at the end of the summer, she had already done so in the men, in the NBA. His name has been associated with many franchisees looking for their new head coach over the past seasons: Portland Trail Blazers, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, among others. without finally drowning. I did an interview (in the NBA) and people said, ‘I only went to San Antonio’ ​​and ‘You were never a head coach’confirmed at the time of her signing in Nevada, remembering the amount of jobs in the NBA “Hard to get”.

The first woman to work as a full-time assistant in the NBA

Never mind: At 45, the passing times of the former New York Liberty and San Antonio Silver Stars leader are already out of the ordinary. She was named the first female full-time assistant in the NBA, in 2014, with Greg Popovich at the San Antonio Spurs, and was also the first woman to coach at a formal meeting when the Texas coach was fired on December 30, 2020, against the Los Angeles Lakers (107-121). ).

“I understand the interest this has had, but in all honesty, I assumed most people already knew she qualifies to be a head coach in the NBA,” Popovic announced a few days later, in the face of the media surge at the time. “She is inspiringconfirms the French interior, Daryl Poirier (25), who participated under his orders in the summer league with Tottenham in 2019.. To be honest, I didn’t really know her biography, I knew she had worked with Pop, and that was enough for me. She has a different passion and energy. We feel like she knows her job, she knows what direction she wants to give the game.

Becky Hammon, alongside Greg Popovich with Tottenham in March 2022 (S. Wachter/Presse Sports)

rich playing career

Her experience, Hamon pulled her not only from the eight (and even nine, because in 2013, then injured, she spent most of her time with the Tottenham manager, unofficially as an assistant, before she got involved in 2014) the years he spent on Popovic’s staff, but also from the career Rich career as a player. Never held the title in the WNBA Although she has played four Finals, she nonetheless has six All-Star picks, two top-five appearances of the season across the Atlantic and is the first — and only — San Antonio player to have seen her jersey, No. 25, pulled . All for a player not selected in the 1999 draft. “As a player, you never set boundaries, Edwige Lawson-Wade, 43, describes 210 Blues picks and Hammon’s partner in 2005 and then between 2008 and 2010. She was small (1.68m) and yet played as 2 as in 1. She could shoot as far as two meters from the three-point line like going under the heads of big boys. She was a player who had great confidence in herself and her partners. What shocked me (sic) about her was how much she trusted me and the trust she gave me. I had the impression, at times, that she believed in me more than myself. »

Russian citizenship and “treason”

A necessary character trait when one is accused of “treason” in one’s own country: Hamon has always dreamed of competing in the Olympics and, in 2008, agreed to take Russian citizenship – the country in which she played – after seeing the team’s door slam the United States slammed in the face. “It was very difficult to live, she was subjected to a lot of insults, the people who spoke to her family: it was not easy to play for Russia when she was a well-known American player., Lawson testifies-valley. Despite that, I did it with a lot of class. She was a very good fellow for the Russians who loved her: regularly, the players would come to see us in San Antonio, and Becky welcomed them kindly into her home. »

It is this subtle contradiction that makes Hamon unique and capable of existence.” Little ringworm that plays hard and chews gum »but “An incredible person in human terms, who often would have welcomed the team into her home”, As Lawson Wade reveals, who insists: “It is often said that good things happen to good people: Becky, that is exactly it.” The interested party summed it up better than anyone else, in four words, after winning the second game of the final: “I just do” (” I am who I am “). And that, no one – especially those who shut the door in her face – is better than her.

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