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Why Becky Hammon should be NBA Head Coach (USA)

The glass ceiling in the NBA is, as of yet, impenetrable, but that hasn’t prevented Becky Hammon from working hard and striving for excellence.

At every level of her career, she has exceeded expectations: At 5’6″, she was always underestimated as a player, but she did not let that stop her from pursuing her ambition and upending the preconceived notions coaches and even other players had about her. She went undrafted in 1999, but she became a six-time All-Star and one of the league’s most beloved players. When she joined the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach in 2014, she wasn’t content being simply on the bench, she wanted to be the “best coach possible.” In June, she was promoted to head assistant coach.

As she has risen through the ranks as a coach, she has shown a nuanced understanding of her sport, helping her players to excel individually and as a team, so much so that she is known as a player’s coach—accessible without letting players take advantage of her, while holding them to a high standard.

In some ways, her story is that of an ordinary promotion of a hard worker who has moved up the ranks of an organization that gave her a shot. But, by virtue of her gender and the dearth of leadership opportunities for women in professional sports, Hammon’s promotion was also extraordinary. Though we would like to believe we have, as a society, made significant progress when it comes to gender equality, there are all kinds of reminders of how far we have to go. Hammon is the first female assistant coach in the 72-year history of the NBA. Her ascent has been a long time coming.

Ask Hammon about the glass ceiling, and she doesn’t even seem to consider it an obstacle. In an interview with USA Today, Hammon said, “Pop gave me the job because of who I am, and my brain, my personality, and what I can bring to the table. That’s ultimately why I got the job. … The last reason I want to be hired is because of my gender.”

Hammon’s stance is reasonable and because she is ambitious, it is the only stance she can publicly make. She has to pretend misogyny is not as much a factor in the trajectory of her career. She has to pretend the professional world is a meritocracy where, if she works hard enough, eventually, she will get her shot.



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