Becky Hammon After Not Being Hired as NBA Head Coach: Jobs 'Incredibly Hard to Get'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIAugust 11, 2021

San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon works with players before an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets in San Antonio, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP Photo/Eric Gay

San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon interviewed for the Orlando Magic and Portland Trail Blazers head coaching gigs this offseason but did not land either. Hammon has been connected to numerous such gigs in years past, but an offer has not yet arrived.

On Tuesday, Michael Pina of Sports Illustrated spoke with Hammon about a wide range of topics, including the difficulty of landing a head coaching job.

Specifically, Pina asked Hammon if, with the knowledge that her hire would be historic, "the process of trying to become a head coach in the NBA [has] been more difficult than you thought it would be" prior to when she was hired by the Spurs in 2014 as an assistant.

"I think you can throw the female, male thing out the door. There's 30 jobs. They are incredibly hard to get. And when I say 30 jobs, not all 30 are available, right? So there's like maybe four or five that are available. And the amount of pressure and scrutiny that comes with each of those jobs, they're just really hard to get. ... So for me, you know that process, I think I get better every time I go through it and walk through that door.
"But at the end of the day, an organization is gonna hire me because I'm the best coach for the job. And all the stuff that comes after that will come. There's no stopping that tidal wave. And I think, for me, it's always a fine line of not overlooking or underestimating or downplaying the moment. But my primary focus has to be to become the best coach that I can be, and be there for my players, for whatever organization is the right fit for me?"

Hammon is certainly qualified for a head coaching position. She's a six-time WNBA All-Star and two-time All-WNBA First Team member who was named as one of the league's top 15 players of all time in 2011. Hammon also won a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics while representing Russia.

The former Colorado State star landed with the Spurs two years after her 16-year professional playing career ended. She's worked under five-time NBA champion head coach Gregg Popovich for seven seasons ever since.

Hammon would become the first full-time female head coach in NBA history if she's ever chosen to lead a team someday. She's already the first female acting head coach in NBA history after she took over for an ejected Popovich in a Dec. 30, 2020, game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

She also led the Spurs' 2015 summer league team to a title in Las Vegas.