Sports

Scott Gray Sports Commentary: Through the Ceiling

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(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

scott gray Scott Gray
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THROUGH THE CEILING

Becky Hammon has spent her life in basketball. A 16 year WNBA veteran, she knows the game. Now she’ll get a chance to show how well, on the biggest stage of her life, center stage of the NBA with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.

Hammon, who sat out much of last season with a knee injury that became a blessing in disquise, is finishing her pro career with the WNBA Stars. She’ll immediately begin a new job, as the first full time female assistant coach in NBA history, under legendary Spurs Coach Greg Popovich. The Spurs would have presided over a media circus if they’d just named any former WNBA player, just to beat other NBA teams through the glass ceiling, but they were well aware of Hammon’s qualifications, thanks to that knee injury. During her down time she asked for permission to observe Spurs practices, sitting in on meetings and film sessions, and Popovich quickly determined she was no “Becky-Come-Lately”.

Hammon is a six time WNBA all star, a two time first team all league pick. She’s seventh in all time points, fourth in assists and sixth in games played. Basketball courses through her veins. “Coach ‘Pop’ made it very clear to me I’m being hired because of my basketball IQ and because I’m qualified”, Hammon said yesterday, “‘It just so happens that you are a woman, but I’m hiring you because of your IQ and your personal relationship skills.'”

“I’m confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs”, added Popovich, who Connecticut Sun coach Anne Donovan feels is the perfect employer at this historic juncture.

“It’s such a great organization”, Donovan said of the Spurs last night at the Mohegan Sun Arena, “(They) have to be one of the finest organizations in the NBA. (Hammon) isn’t going to be set up for failure, she’s set up for success. I know Becky, she’s a winner, she’s extremely intelligent. She has a great understanding of this game and she’ll have a lot to offer. It’s an opportunity we finally have at the right place, the right time with the right person.”

Becky Hammon may not have shattered the glass ceiling with yesterday’s announcment, but she brought it more within reach of other women and she did open a door that many others should now get a chance to walk through. This isn’t about publicity for the San Antonio Spurs, it’s about sound hiring practices. You go with the best available candidate. Yesterday they got her.

With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray

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