Becky Hammon’s shot at an NBA head-coaching position may come sooner than later.
In the moments after the Celtics announced on Wednesday that Brad Stevens would exit his role as head coach and transition into a front office position, Hammon’s name was thrown into the rumor pool to take over the Boston gig.
There has yet to be a woman head coach in NBA history.
Hammon became the first full-time female assistant coach when the Spurs hired her in 2014. In 2015, she led the Spurs’ summer league team to a championship in Las Vegas, and went on to serve as the team’s summer league head coach in 2016 and 2019.
Stevens will replace Danny Ainge as president of basketball operations after Ainge’s 18-year stay in Boston — and Hammon is among the top names on the many pundits’ lists of candidates.
At the end of April, Stevens said he hopes Hammon’s time as an NBA head coach is coming soon.
“Becky obviously is a terrific candidate [for a head-coaching position],” he said. “I know what people think about her, and I know how well she is respected all across the league by the players and the coaches.”
Hammon has spent the last seven seasons as an assistant to longtime Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who has the most wins in the regular season and playoffs in NBA history. Popovich, among other coaches and NBA staff throughout the league, have championed Hammon’s basketball knowledge and fearless attitude.
The four-time All-WNBA selection impressed in a historic milestone when she became the first woman to serve as head coach in the NBA regular season in December. Hammon took over for Popovich in a matchup against the Lakers after he was ejected following a double-technical with under four minutes remaining in the first half.
Despite suffering a 121-107 Lakers loss, Hammon called the head coaching stint “a big deal” and a “substantial moment.”
As she continues to make waves in the NBA coaching circuit, Hammon is focused and ready for the day she’s hopefully called up for a head-coaching position.
“In some ways, I feel like it could be in a year. In other ways, it could be 10 years,” she said in an NBC interview in May.
“I’m not really sure. What I’m sure of is, I’ll be ready.”
Hammon, a Colorado State alum, is a six-time WNBA All-Star and led the league in assists in 2007. She went undrafted in her rookie season, and signed with the Liberty in May 1999.