By Jennifer Leighfield • 01 January 2021 • 16:10
CREDIT: San Antonio Spurs - Twitter
BECKY HAMMON made history in becoming the first female head coach during an official NBA game, when San Antonio Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich, was sent off in the second quarter of a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
He passed the board to Hammon, 43, who despite having not planned for it, made history.
“Obviously it is something very big. It is an important moment” declared Becky Hammon after the defeat of her team (107-121).
“It’s my job. I have to get out there and stay focused and make sure I’m helping my players” she said, admitting that she wished the team had won the match.
Becky Hammon had already directed a Spurs game, but always in the form of friendlies or Summer League matches.
Her biggest rival on the night of her unexpected debut, LeBron James, raved about the Spurs’ impromptu coach. “She had to take charge, show her work, her talent and her love for this sport. She has a lot of passion for this sport. Congratulations to her and congratulations to our league,” said the Lakers player.
Former Lakers player, Spaniard Pau Gasol, who spent parts of several recent seasons with the Spurs, also tweeted his congratulations to Hammon.
She had already made history in 2014 when the Spurs hired her to a full-time coaching position. She has risen through the ranks since then, joining Popovich on the sidelines in 2018.
Hammon was an All-Star guard in the WNBA, playing 16 seasons for the New York Liberty and San Antonio Stars as well as overseas. She began thinking of a career change following a knee injury. In 2018 she was invited to interview for the Milwaukee Bucks’ head coaching job.
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Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics.
Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.
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