The assistant female coach filled in for head coach Gregg Popovich after being ejected due to the Spurs’ 121-107 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, making history as the first female head coach in NBA’s regular-seasons.
“Obviously it’s a big deal, a substantial moment,” Hammon says. “I’ve been a part of this organization. I got traded here in 2007, so I’ve been in San Antonio and part of the Spurs and sports organization with the Stars and everything for 13 years. So I have a lot of time invested, and they have a lot of time invested in me in building me and getting me better.”
Popovich argued with a referee over a no-call while his team was behind the Los Angeles Lakers’ 52-41, resulting in him receiving a technical foul. In her seventh season with the Spurs, Hammon has been a six-time All-Star in the WBNA with the San Antonio Silver Stars and the New York Liberty.
Tim Duncan filled in as head coach during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers, along with Hammon and the rest of the Spurs staff. He then stepped down from the position during the offseason.
Hammon is a returning nominee for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for the class of 2021, Popovich was then asked about Hammon before the game against the Lakers.
“Obviously, I think very much of her abilities having hired her. That all began when I saw her play,” Popovich further adds, “She was a leader, everybody on the team reacted to her, she was very confident, very competitive and she led the whole show. And when I got to know her and she was in our coaches meetings before she was hired, while she was hurt after the season, we found out about her knack for the game, her innate understanding of what wins, what loses, what has to be there to make a program. So she’s got all of the tools necessary to be a heck of a coach in our league.”