On Saturday, Becky Hammon was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame. She was recognized as a player for her career in the WNBA. Odds are she will one day be inducted again as a coach.
Five former NBA players have also been inducted as coaches: John Wooden, Lenny Wilkens, Bill Sharman, Tom Heinsohn, and most recently Bill Russell in 2021.
Her coaching acumen won her and her Las Vegas Aces a WNBA title in her first year. This year, the Aces are leading the league and looking poised to make another run for the ring.
She has attributed her coaching to her time with the San Antonio Spurs and specifically Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
Hammon took a moment to call out Pop with gratitude.
“Pop, I’m not going to look at you...you’re a man of principal and excellence. I know you weren’t trying to be courageous when you hired me, but you did do something no one else in professional sports has ever done.
“You display excellence, you expect excellence, and you model how to become excellent. In your everyday routine and how you go about your work. You spoke courage into me with a phone call as I was getting ready to coach that first Summer League team in 2015, you said “Just be you, you’re going to be great.” And you text me that —I don’t know if you know how many times you’ve actually text me that — Just be you, just be you, just be you. And you’ve changed the direction of my life, and so many other girls and women. Thank you and I love you.”
So many wonderful moments from last weekend’s festivities. We’ll continue to post for those who haven’t caught the entire ceremony.
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