When the film Eddie came out in 1996, the idea that a female limo driver and fanatical hoops fan (played by Whoopi Goldberg) would become head coach of the New York Knicks seemed far fetched.
Not so anymore. Becky Hammon, who spent 15 years playing for the women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), became the first female coach to lead an NBA franchise to a title in the league’s Las Vegas summer tournament last week. Hammon’s team, the San Antonio Spurs, won 6-1 overall, overcoming the Phoenix Suns in the championship game with a score of 93-90.
After winning the Spurs’s fifth NBA title last year, head coach and president Gregg Popovich made history by appointing Hammon as an assistant coach. By winning the NBA summer league, Hammon has taken that historic decision to new heights.
“We don’t look at it as female or anything, she’s the coach and we just listen,” Spurs forward Jarrell Eddie told the Guardian after the team won their semifinal game.
After winning the title, Hammon said: “You just work hard and keep your nose to the grind. You do things the right way, you treat people the right way, and good things happen.” She continued, “I’m just thankful that [Popovich] trusted me with the guys in that locker room, and that those guys trusted me back.”
Some analysts are now suggesting that teams across the league should give serious thought to hiring Hammon as a head coach in the NBA.