Becky Hammon: First Woman to Serve as NBA Head Coach

In December 2020, the San Antonio assistant coach, Becky Hammond, made history by becoming the first woman to act as head coach during an NBA regular-season game. Hammond filled in for head coach Gregg Popovich as he was sent out of their game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The 43-year-old has been with the San Antonio Spurs since 2014, on which team she became the first full-time female assistant coach in North America’s major professional leagues.  

This is not the only history-making moment in men’s sport to take place in the past year, as Kim Ng became the first female General Manager of any professional male North American sports team (NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL) in history. Although a woman being in a head position is not often seen, Becky Hammond and Kim Ng made impressions while making history at the same time. There any many news articles covering their stories, even some articles relating the two women’s experiences.  

Coach Hammond talking to her guard DeRozan during the August 3rd game after she took over as head coach (Source: Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

Hammond’s players granted praise on their coach after the game, and so did the opposing team’s star, LeBron James. Men have always believed to be “better” for these top coaching positions, but hopefully this was another history making moment closer to ending gender inequality in sport. 

The topic of gender inequality in sports is not rare in everyday conversation and has been an on-going significant issue. Men are believed to be more suitable for the head roles in the male-dominated workplace of men’s sports, proven by women representing less than 3% of the head coaches in men’s sports vs. males representing the other 97%. Women continue to be under-represented in leadership positions, shown through research accumulated by Evans and Pfister, as they explore gender inequality in sports. 

S. B. 

Featured image: Becky Hammond with her game face on August 3rd 2021 as she took over as head coach during the Spurs vs. Lakers game (Source: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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