Pau Gasol Cosigns Becky Hammon’s Bid For Bucks’ Head Coaching Job

    The fact that the NBA has never had a woman head coach makes Becky Hammon’s journey very impactful and captivating to even non-sports fans. Like any talented male assistant, Hammon was groomed for this moment, where her name is now seriously being considered for various NBA head coaching positions, so even though she probably doesn’t need it she has a legion of supporters pulling for her to be hired.  

    So far, the Milwaukee Bucks seem to be a potential destination for Hammon. 

    The Shadow League on Twitter

    Becky Hammon will be interviewed for the Bucks head coaching job, becoming the first woman ever to do so, per @wojespn.

    She would be a barrier-breaker and thats something to be celebrated,  but shes not coming out of nowhere. During her four-season stint as San Antonio Spurs assistant coach under the great Gregg Popovich, Hammon has proved to possess as shrewd a basketball mind and grasp of the game as any of the other male assistants and to my knowledge, her coworkers have given her nothing but glowing reviews. 

    Spurs veteran center Pau Gasol, an NBA champion with the Lakers, penned an open letter for The Players Tribune on Friday advocating for Becky to be hired as an NBA head coach and deservedly giving props to all accomplished female coaches with NBA potential —  a list that includes Minnesota Lynx four-time WNBA championship coach/GM Cheryl Reeve and Nancy Lieberman. Lieberman is a groundbreaking womens player, who also played and coached in theWNBA, currently works as an assistant coach for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and became the first female head coach of a men’s pro league when she signed on as the next coach of The Big3 League’s Power. 

    Cheryl Reeve on Twitter

    https://t.co/0x4cBqGp4F

    “I’ve played with some of the best players of this generation and I’ve played under two of the sharpest minds in the history of sports, in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich,” Gasol wrote. “And I’m telling you: Becky Hammon can coach. I’m not saying she can coach pretty well. I’m not saying she can coach enough to get by. I’m not saying she can coach almost at the level of the NBA’s male coaches. I’m saying: Becky Hammon can coach NBA basketball. Period.”

    And nobody’s debating that fact, even those who may have once been stuck in outdated and prejudice theories about a womans ability to coach men. The NBA/WNBA culture is as supportive of women as any of the major sports. 

    Those who consider Hammon’s opportunities in the NBA a gimmick by the Spurs or the league should be labeled fools. Anyone who has followed Hammons legendary basketball career knows that she was a scoring legend at Colorado State, is one of the WNBAs Top 15 players in history and is renown for her court savvy, intelligence, and leadership ability. 

    Becky Hammon Top 10 Career Plays

    Check out the 10 best career plays from one of the best guards to play in the WNBA, San Antonio Stars guard Becky Hammon

    Hammon was the first full-time female assistant coach in any of the four major professional sports in North America and in July of 2015  she became the first woman head coach in that league. All she did was lead the Spurs to the Las Vegas Summer League title. 

    It’s a Spurs Summer

    An all-access look at the championship game of the Samsung Las Vegas NBA Summer League, as the San Antonio Spurs, led by Spurs Assistant/Summer League Head Coach Becky Hammon, defeated the Phoenix Suns. About the NBA: The NBA is the premier professional basketball league in the United States and Canada.

    If her Summer League success wasn’t convincing enough, Gasol also took his turn to dispel the notion that Hammon, was hired by the Spurs because the optics were favorable for the franchise. 

    “Would you really expect Coach Pop to develop his staff any differently than he develops his players? Of course not,” he wrote. “Pop’s only standard for doing anything is whether it’ll help us in just one wayand it isn’t getting good p.r. It’s getting W’s. And getting those W’s The Spurs Way.”

    Hammon has not been treated any differently than any of the male assistant coaches shes now in competition with for one of 30 coveted NBA coaching gigs and she shouldnt. 

    Becky Hammon on her head coach’s support of her NBA coaching

    San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon celebrates the coach who supported her along the way to making history as the first woman to coach full-time in the NBA. Learn more at http://www.leanin.org/men About the NBA: The NBA is the premier professional basketball league in the United States and Canada.

    That doesn’t mean she’s a perfect fit for every team with a vacancy. Some of the teams might prefer one with more than four years of experience as an assistant and wont choose to make history with her. Other franchises will be looking to build with a fresh face, a young up and coming coaching prospect that can bring something different to the equation and elevate the teams fortunes. 

    If Hammon does land a job and opens the floodgates for more women coaches in the NBA, then thats just a bonus because shes being judged on her many merits and will get there without any campaigns by her supporters.  

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.