WNBA: Former All-Star Hammon 'couldn't be prouder' to rejoin league as a coach

Reuters

Posted at Jan 04 2022 09:54 AM

Assistant Coach Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs looks on before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on April 16, 2021 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. File photo. Logan Riely, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP.
Assistant Coach Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs looks on before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on April 16, 2021 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. File photo. Logan Riely, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP.

Former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon said she "couldn't be prouder" to rejoin the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) as head coach of the Las Vegas Aces, a powerhouse franchise on the hunt for their maiden title.

The six-time WNBA All-Star spent eight years with the Spurs, prompting speculation that she could become the first woman hired as the head coach of a National Basketball Association (NBA) team, breaking a stubborn glass ceiling in North American men's professional leagues.

Hammon told reporters on Monday she had "no intentions" of leaving the NBA originally, but that the WNBA gave her the chance to lead, calling the job "a step forward."

"I sat in a lot of head coaching interviews," she said. "Two things that people always said: You know, you've only been in San Antonio and you've never been a head coach.

"I can tell you right now, (Aces owner) Mark Davis met me, (team President Nikki Fargas) met me, and said 'that's a head coach right now' ... I couldn't be prouder to come back to the W."

Hammon signed a five-year deal that makes her the highest-paid coach in the league, according to ESPN, with an enviable Aces squad that reached their third straight postseason last year under two-time WNBA Coach of the Year Bill Laimbeer.

"Doing a total (overhaul) and massive changes? No, I don't see that happening," said Hammon, who picked up Olympic bronze with the Russian national team at the 2008 Games.

"They have some really good pieces in place and what it's about is finding the chemistry with those players, building that foundation out but then also adding a few pieces that fit the style that I want to play." 

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Karishma Singh)