San Antonio Spurs assistant Beck Hammon made history earlier in the week when she became the first woman to assume head coaching duties after Gregg Popovich was ejected during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Popovich told reporters Friday that he didn’t think it was such a big deal to have Hammon coach the team due to her basketball knowledge and her familiarity with the Lakers.
“As you all know, we’re very participatory. I like to have my coaches coach. The Lakers were her scout team. It made total sense for her to take over. That’s what we’ve done for decades. That’s nothing new,” Popovich said, via the Los Angeles Times.
“But on the bigger question of her having taken over a NBA game, to me, it’s not a big surprise. To a lot of other people it meant a lot. I can understand that. She’s somebody who’s very skilled and could very easily fulfill the duties of a head coach in the NBA. That goes without saying. There are women in every other endeavor in the world, whether it’s government, science, technology, aviation, it doesn’t matter what it is. Women do the same jobs as well and better than men. That’s a fact. There’s no reason why somebody like Becky and other women can’t be coaches in the NBA.
“On a larger scale, that’s why it wasn’t a big deal to me — because I know her. And I know her skills, and I know her value and I know her future is very, very bright. I understand the attention it got, but in all honesty, I assumed that most people already knew that she was qualified to be a head coach in the NBA.”
Popovich said that the decision to even hire Hammon wasn’t about making history. He said she was qualified to coach the team but just happens to be a woman.
Hammon said in that historic moment she was just trying to get the players in their right spots.
“Trying to get them motivated. Obviously, it’s a learning situation for all of us, but I would have loved to have walked out there with a win with the guys.”