Newsday reports that San Antonio Spurs’ assistant coach Becky Hammon will be interviewing for the vacant Knicks head coaching job, among other names such as ex-Spurs coach Ime Udoka, interim head coach Mike Miller, Kenny Atkinson, Tom Thibodeau and Mike Woodson.
But keep in mind, this is not Becky’s first head coaching gig to interview for — she’s been on the radar for other NBA teams since 2018 when the Bucks interviewed her for their vacant head coaching job. While she obviously didn’t land the role, it was one step closer to the inevitable reality that a female will be a head coach in the NBA. It’s no longer an “if”, it’s now a “when”.
No one deserves the opportunity more than Hammon either. If you don’t know Hammon, Pop hired in 2014, making her NBA’s first full-time female coach and the first in any of the four major U.S. professional leagues. Which at the time was a groundbreaking hire. Fast forward to today and there are now eight women in on-court coaching roles this upcoming NBA season, with 18 more holding basketball operations positions in front offices and six women hold controlling or significant ownership stakes in teams.
In 2017, Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN there “definitely will be” a woman in the lead position, and he partially placed the onus on himself to “ensure that it happens sooner rather than later.”
“I have a very high expectation that it will happen — it’s not an expectation. I know it will happen at some point,” said Oris Stuart, the NBA’s executive vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer. “There are women who have the ability and the interest to contribute to this game at the highest level. If that ability is there, it’s going to be recognized, and if that interest is there, it’s going to be responded to.”
I will say that there is one downside to Hammon landing the New York job, which is the Spurs won’t have her to fill Pops shoes when he retires. I guess that means Coach Duncan would be next man up? I guess I don’t hate that either.