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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

Why Becky Hammon Coaching the Spurs is Important

On Wednesday night, San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich was ejected in the second quarter of their game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

As he turned to walk towards the locker room, he pointed to Assistant Coach Becky Hammon and said, "You got 'em."

At that moment, Hammon became the first woman to act as head coach in an NBA game.

Here's why this is important.

In collegiate and professional sports, there are still far too many head coaches who hire a female assistant to check a box, win a press release, inflate their ego, or for any number of shallow reasons other than to mentor and develop a future head coach.

This has not been the case in San Antonio. After giving Hammon the opportunity to coach the Spurs' Summer League team in 2015 (they won the tournament, by the way), and now selecting her to coach on Wednesday, Popovich has made his intentions clear. Hammon wants to be a head coach in the NBA, and Popovich intends to help her become one.

In my eyes, one of the primary reasons we don't have enough women in the coaching profession is there is an unwillingness to place women in HEAD coaching positions.

I'm not a woman, so take this for what it's worth, but if I were looking into a profession and didn't see anyone who looked like me in leadership positions, it would be a major deterrent. I think we all want to enter a career believing the sky is the limit for anyone who does a good job. Right now, in many sports organizations, this doesn't really feel like the case.

So, head coaches: next time you hire a woman, don't think giving her a job is enough. Go a step further.

Teach her to do yours.

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