Becky Hammon has long been expected to become the NBA's first woman head coach. Now, others are joining the race.
Becky Hammonhas long been considered the top contender to be the NBA's first woman head coach.
- But now, other women are emerging as serious candidates for NBA head
coachingpositions. Dawn Staleyand Kara Lawsonhave both been rumored as options to fill vacancies across the league.
Becky Hammon has long been considered the obvious candidate to become the first woman head coach in NBA history.
And she's led the charge for good reason; ever since Gregg Popovich welcomed Hammon into the San Antonio Spurs organization in 2o13, she's broken
She was the first woman to become a full-time NBA assistant coach, the first woman to be named the head coach of an NBA Summer League team - and the first woman to win an NBA Summer League title as head coach. Hammon was also the first woman on an NBA All-Star coaching staff and, in 2020, became the first woman acting head coach in league history.
There's no doubt Hammon is a worthy, qualified candidate to take over the helm for an NBA franchise. But for far too long, she's been regarded as the only woman eligible to take over the helm for an NBA franchise.
This offseason is already looking different. In addition to Hammon, a handful of other, highly qualified women coaches have been included in the conversation for head coaching vacancies across the league.
Dawn Staley is one such candidate. Like Hammon, Staley traces her roots back to the
She moved on to become head coach at South Carolina in 2008 and has lifted the program to incredible heights in the years since. In 2017 - the same year that she led the Gamecocks to their first national championship - Staley became the USA Women's National Team head coach.
This week, both she and Hammon were reportedly listed as "top head-coaching candidates" for the unfilled Portland Trail Blazers head coaching position, per The Athletic's Shams Charania. However, while a representative for South Carolina women's basketball confirmed to WCSC that Portland has requested an interview with Staley, it remains unclear whether she is seriously considering a switch to the men's game.
Hammon, meanwhile, is expected to interview for both the Blazers' job and the open head coaching role with the Orlando Magic. The Spurs assistant has also been discussed as a potential candidate for the vacant Boston Celtics head coaching gig.
And, once again, Hammon is not the only woman in consideration. Kara Lawson is expected to be a "prime candidate" for the job Brad Stevens - now the franchise's general manager - left behind earlier this month, according to The Athletic's Jared Weiss.
Yet another WNBA star-turned-coach, Lawson embarked on a broadcasting career while playing professionally. In 2017 - two years after retiring from the WNBA and 10 years following the start of her TV work - she joined Stevens' Celtics staff as an assistant coach.
She left Boston after a single season, having been offered the Duke women's basketball head coaching job in the summer of 2020. However, Lawson hasn't had many opportunities to showcase her coaching prowess with the Blue Devils; the program canceled its 2020-2021 season after four games due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like Staley, it's unclear if Lawson is willing to leave her current head coaching job in women's college basketball for unchartered waters on the men's side. But unlike Staley, Lawson has experience on an NBA coaching staff. She also has a tight-knit relationship with Stevens, who almost certainly has the personal pull to convince Lawson to interview.
Hammon is, by all accounts, still the frontrunner to become the first woman head coach in the NBA - and likely across all four of the major professional men's
Perhaps it's even a relief for Hammon herself, who has long shouldered the burden of representing all womankind in the conversation surrounding women in men's coaching. And whether she or another woman breaks through sports' hardest glass ceiling, Hammon will undoubtedly "be ready," she told NBC's Hoda Kotb in April.
"This ball is never moving fast enough, in my opinion," Hammon said after she was named to the network's "2021 Inspiration List." "People don't like doing something new and different. It's uncomfortable."
"In some ways, I feel like it could be in a year," she added. "In other ways, it could be 10 years. I'm not really sure. What I'm sure of is I'll be ready."
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