Becky Hammon Should be the Clippers’ Next Head Coach
On September 28, 2020, the Los Angeles Clippers fired head coach, Doc Rivers, following their elimination from the NBA Playoffs. Rivers spent seven seasons with the Clippers and led them to the postseason six of seven times. Rivers holds many of the franchise coaching records including the most games, wins, winning percentage, playoff games, and the number of playoffs victories. He didn’t remain unemployed for long as he was hired by the Philadelphia 76ers on October 3 to take over the reins there.
— doc rivers (@DocRivers) September 28, 2020
There has been a lot of speculation over who should take Rivers’ place in Los Angeles. Presumably, Tyronn Lue, the Clippers assistant coach is a popular pick since he is already part of the coaching staff. Other considerations have been Sam Cassell, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mike D’Antoni. They are all qualified for the position, each for different reasons; however, it is time for the NBA to make a big move and hire a female head coach, specifically, Becky Hammon.
Becky Hammon’s Playing Career
Becky Hammon began her basketball career while she was in high school and continued to make a name for herself in college. Hammon attended Colorado State where she was an All-American three times and led the Rams to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament in the 1998-99 season. In the same year, she was named the player of the year for the Western Atheltic Conference Mountain Division.
Hammon set many records while playing for Colorado State and won numerous awards, which was just a predicate of her what her future had in store for her. She was inducted into the Colorado State University Hall of Fame in 2004 and her jersey, number 25, was retired the following year.
The next step in Hammon’s journey would lead her to the WNBA via the New York Liberty in 1999. She became the team’s starting point guard and one of the teams’ co-captains in 2004. Hammon played for Liberty until she was traded to the San Antonio Silver Stars in 2007.
It was in San Antonio Hammon earned the nickname “Big Shot Becky” because of her clutch shots. She led the team to a 24-10 record in 2008 and to the playoffs for the second straight year, which would lead them to the Finals, where they were defeated by the Detroit Shock.
In 1998 Hammon was a member of the USA National team and played in the William Jones Cup in Taipei, Taiwan where the team earned a gold medal. Hammon felt snubbed by the American team when she didn’t get the opportunity to try out for the national team. As a result, she moved to Russia and played for the CSKA team in Moscow during the WNBA off-season. She played for Russia in the 2008 Olympics, where the Russians won a bronze medal, EuroBasket 2009, 2010 World Championship, and the 2012 Olympics. Hammon retired from the WNBA in 2014.
- 6x WNBA All-Star
- 2x All-WNBA First Team
- 2x All-WNBA Second Team
- WNBA Assists leader
- WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All Time
- WNBA Top 20@20
- Retirement of jersey by San Antonio Stars
- 2008 Bejing Olympics Bronze Medal
Becky Hammon Coaching Career
While Hammon was rehabilitating from an ACL injury in 2013 she spent time with the San Antonio Spurs coaching staff, sitting in on practices, coaches’ meetings, and games, and was given the opportunity to give her feedback and input.
This time with the Spurs became invaluable to Hammon as the Spurs hired her to be an assistant coach in 2014. She became the second female coach in the NBA, the first was Lisa Boyer who was a volunteer assistant with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Hammon was promoted to the front of the bench in June 2018 and was named the head coach of the Spurs las Vegas Sumer League in 2015, 2016, and 2019; becoming the first woman to do so. She led the Spurs to the Summer League championship in her first year as head coach and became the first woman to be part of an All-Star coaching staff.
What Comes Next for Becky Hammon?
This isn’t the first time Hammon has been a suggested candidate to fill a head coaching position. She interviewed with the Pacers following the firing of their head coach, Nate McMillian. However, the Pacers have yet to make a final decision. Hammon was also asked in an online Q&A session with NBA jr. coaches about the role of a female head coach in the NBA, possibly even herself, and she replied:
“I have interviewed with the Indiana Pacers (this off-season) and I think as far as when we will actually see it – that’s really not up to me.
“But as many interviews as I can get, the better practice I get, and I do think it’s right around the corner.
“When you look around the world and you start to see women leaders in all spectrums of life…what is basketball that a woman can’t teach,” the Spurs assistant said.
Hammon has a wealth of basketball knowledge as a player and on the sidelines as a coach. She has a total of 22 years in the professional basketball arena and has shown success in her coaching methods. Hammon’s resume is impressive and quite padded with stats. Stats all the way back to her collegiate playing days, so her qualifications speak for themselves.
Hammon aspired to be a head coach prior to her retirement as a player. She has put in the hard work and dedication to get herself there. The question that remains is when will the league and team owners recognize her talent and determination and hire her in the capacity of a head coach? The Pacers may have passed on Hammon, but the Clippers still have the opportunity to make NBA history.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images