Serious Question: Why not Becky Hammon?

Tuesday’s game between the San Antonio Spurs and Charlotte Hornets made a lot of noise on social media despite the game meaning nothing. The two teams are both on the outside of the playoff picture, and there was no historical event that took place. So why the uproar by NBA fans?

Before the game it was announced that Spurs legendary coach Gregg Popovich was going to miss the game due to personal reasons. It was then announced that the head coaching duties would be on the shoulders of Tim Duncan. It is very rare that Popovich drops the ball on anything, basketball, political or social. I hate to say it but, Coach Pop you dropped the ball on this one.

Becky Hammon, not Tim Duncan, should’ve got the clipboard

Becky Hammon is a ground breaker. Hammon is the NBA’s first full-time female assistant coach. She has been on Popovich’s staff since 2014 and has coached San Antonio’s Summer League squad on three separate occasions. Hammon is expected to become the first female Head Coach in NBA history too.

Remember when I said nothing historical happened that night? Well if Popovich would’ve handed down the coaching responsibilities to Hammon, the more experienced coach, instead of Duncan, who is a rookie assistant coach, there would’ve been NBA history.

Before anyone thinks they are smart with the “Tim Duncan is more qualified that Becky because he played 19 years in the NBA,” don’t be so ignorant. The relation of being a great player and being a great coach is non existent. Often the great players are miserable coaches, just look at Magic Johnson tenor as Lakers head coach. And the same people who think Duncan is more qualified probably know nothing about Hammon, they just see her as a woman who shouldn’t be in a position of power in a men’s league.

Think I am just arguing this for sake of arguing? Then take the word of future NBA hall of Famer Pau Gasol. Gasol penned an open letter and gave a heavy endorsement of Hammon.

“I’ve played with some of the best players of this generation … and I’ve played under two of the sharpest minds in the history of sports, in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. And I’m telling you: Becky Hammon can coach. I’m not saying she can coach pretty well. I’m not saying she can coach enough to get by. I’m not saying she can coach almost at the level of the NBA’s male coaches. I’m saying: Becky Hammon can coach NBA basketball. Period.”- Pau Gasol

And for the ridiculous narrative that “you have to play the game if you want to coach,” check out Hammon’s resume as a player. 

Hammon played 15 years in the WNBA and a 6x WNBA All-star. In her best season averaging 19.5 points and 5.0 assists. She was given the name “Big Shot Becky,” by the NBA’s “Big Shot” Robert Horry, because of her clutch shot making ability. Hammon eventually became the 7th player in WNBA history to reach the 5,000 point total.

Duncan did give credit to Hammon and the coaching staff

After the Spurs’ 104-103 victory, Duncan spoke with the media and said he was not working alone in the “big boy chair.”

“We’ve got Becky and Will and Mitch (Johnson); Mitch prepped the game for us,” Duncan said. “Becky and Will were making all the calls and I was the only one just standing there screaming at people, nonsensical stuff. We did it coach by committee and it could have been any one of us up there and we would have done exactly the same stuff.”

I love Duncan, I do but that quote just exemplifies my point. If the heavy load of the work was being done by the other assistants, then making Duncan the lead man was just because he’s Tim Duncan. I expect better than that from Popovich and the Spurs organization.

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