San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected in the second quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, and Becky Hammon took over as acting head coach for the rest of the game. In doing so, Hammon became the first woman to direct a team in NBA history.
Spurs assistant Becky Hammon filled in for an ejected Gregg Popovich.
She's believed to be the first woman to act as head coach during an NBA regular-season game. pic.twitter.com/VyQqVNaPhc
— ESPN (@espn) December 31, 2020
After the game, Hammon told the media, “Obviously it’s a big deal… it’s a substantial moment.”
Becky Hammon on becoming the first woman to act as head coach during an NBA regular season game: “Obviously it’s a big deal … it’s a substantial moment”
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 31, 2020
Hammon added that after Popovich was ejected, he pointed at her and said, “You got ’em.”
Becky Hammon on how she knew it was going to be her stepping in for Pop: "He officially pointed at me. That was it. He said, 'You got 'em.' That was it. Very Pop-like. See? You guys get treated no differently than we do."
— Matthew Tynan (@Matthew_Tynan) December 31, 2020
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told the media that Hammon is “here for a reason,” and he thinks “she’s going to be a head coach in this league someday.”
"Well deserved. I've talked to her a bunch and she really knows her stuff. She's here for a reason. I think she's going to be a head coach in this league someday." — Frank Vogel on Becky Hammon becoming the first female to coach in an NBA game.
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) December 31, 2020
Hammon, 43, was a three-time All-American at Colorado State University, before putting together a tremendous WNBA career with the New York Liberty (1999-2006) and San Antonio Stars (2007-14) that included six All-Star appearances.
In 2014, Hammon joined Popovich’s staff as an assistant coach, becoming the first female full-time assistant coach in NBA history. She was the head coach of the Spurs’ Summer League team in 2015 (along with 2016 and 2019), and led them to the Las Vegas Summer League title.
Congratulations to Hammon. And hopefully Vogel’s prediction — which Popovich would certainly agree with — ends up being correct.