Becky Hammon Leads Las Vegas Aces To WNBA Championship | What Must She Do To Get An NBA Gig?

(Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

In her first year as head coach Becky Hammon is hoisting a championship trophy. Many thought it would happen in the NBA, that she would become the first female head coach in league history and as a famed disciple of the Gregg Popovich coaching tree she too would win titles. That it happened in the WNBA with the Las Vegas Aces doesn’t make it any less sweeter and shows the NBA what it’s missing. But their loss is the WNBA’s gain.

“My journey is not by mistake. Every hard thing that I’ve gone through has built something in me that I’ve needed down the road. And even though it sucks in the moment to not be picked or to get hurt or whatever it might be, hard stuff builds stuff in you that’s necessary for life,” Hammon said. “For me, it’s not about proving other people wrong, it’s about proving myself right.”

Hammon can coach with the best of them. She led the Aces to the league’s best record of 26-10, the Commissioner’s Cup, the No. 1 overall seed and the WNBA championship. The team also boasted four All-Stars in A’ja Wilson, Dearica Hamby, Kelsey Plum, and Jackie Young. Hammon’s starting point guard Chelsea Gray wasn’t an All-Star but proved she was more than that being named Finals MVP.

The team’s title run was almost derailed this season, and Hammon had to utilize those intangible coaching skills to reach her team as they stumbled into the All-Star break.

Hammon lit into her team and chastised some of the selfish play she was seeing. That type of in your face, alpha dog coaching can only be used sparingly and at the right moment. These are professionals, after all, and no grownup wants or likes to be hollered at.

“We weren’t playing the right way, we weren’t playing how we had started the season and the losses reflected that,” Gray said. “That was a good moment of how we got better as a team, but more importantly, we got tighter as a team.”

That same message deployed too early in the season or too late wouldn’t have the same impact. Hammon chose her moment wisely. The mark of a coach very much in tune with her players.

The Aces defeated the Connecticut Sun to win the title and swept many of the major WNBA season awards.

Coach of the Year (Hammon), MVP (Wilson), Defensive Player of the Year (Wilson), Most Improved (Young) and Finals MVP (Gray).

The NBA could still come calling for Hammon, though she understands the journey is more important than the destination. This is the path she is supposed to be on. Winning the title in year one validates what everyone already knows, she can coach.

Would it be great for an NBA team to allow her to “break the glass ceiling”? Of course. But whether it’s in the W, the NBA, the Euro League or wherever, coaching is coaching. Hammon has proved she’s got the chops.


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