San Antonio Spurs have added former Russia international and veteran WNBA player Becky Hammon to their coaching staff.
It marks the second time that a female will become part of the coaching staff of an NBA team following Lisa Boyer’s appointment with Cleveland in 2001 as a “volunteer” assistant. Terms of Hammon’s contract were not revealed.
Hammon, a 16-season veteran, with eight of them being with the San Antonio Silver Stars, announced on July 23 that she would retire at the end of the 2014 season.
“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said in a statement. “Having observed her working with our team this past season, I’m confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs.”
Hammon, who retired from international basketball with Russia after the 2012 London Olympics sat out most of last season because of a knee injury. While she was out though, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich invited the point guard to attend team practices.
When the news broke about Hammon’s invitation, Popovich was asked questions about whether women can coach male basketball players.
“I don’t see why not,” he said. “There shouldn’t be any limitations. It’s about talent and the ability to do things. It’s not about what your sex is or your race or anything else.”
Hammon is the Silver Stars’ all-time leader in assists with 1,112 and in 3-point field goals made with 493. She ranks second in franchise history in points (3,442) and games (218), and in 2012, Hammon was the top vote-getter for the Stars’ All-Decade Team.
Named one of the WNBA’s top 15 players of all time in July 2011, Hammon ranks seventh in WNBA history in points (5,809), fourth in assists (1,687) and sixth in games (445).
The 37-year-old has also won a bronze medal for Russia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.