After taking over as head coach for Gregg Popovich when he was ejected from a game last week, San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon earned a new wave of respect across the NBA for how she handled the main job.
Speaking to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Spurs guard Patty Mills believes that Hammon is "in a position of power" following her brief stint as a head coach.
"She's able to direct guys on what to do and that all comes from work ethic and what she does behind the scenes and getting herself and our team ready for games," Mills added. "She is an NBA coach who knows her [expletive] and gets it done."
Hammon became the first woman to serve as head coach during a regular-season NBA game on Dec. 30 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Popovich was ejected in the second quarter of San Antonio's 121-107 loss for arguing with the officials about a non-call.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Hammon called it "a big deal" for her to have that moment with the Spurs:
"It's a substantial moment. I've been a part of this organization, I got traded here in 2007, so I've been in San Antonio and part of the Spurs and sports organization with the Stars and everything for 13 years. So I have a lot of time invested, and they have a lot of time invested in me, in building me and getting me better."
Hammon made history in July 2015 when she became the first woman to serve as head coach for a team in the NBA Summer League. The 43-year-old led the Spurs to a Summer League title in her first season.
In May 2018, the Milwaukee Bucks interviewed Hammon for their vacant head-coaching job. Mike Budenholzer was ultimately hired by the organization.
Before moving into the coaching ranks, Hammon had a successful 16-year playing career in the WNBA. She was a six-time All-Star, two-time All-WNBA first team selection and was named one of the league's 20 greatest players in honor of its 20th season in 2016.