Becky Hammon, who already slam-dunked the glass ceiling once when she became the first woman ever to become an assistant coach for an NBA team, was named by the San Antonio Spurs as head coach for its summer league team. The NBA Summer League is held every year in Las Vegas, and is a venue where rookies, veterans — and coaches — can show off what they’ve got. The “weight of history” seems only to be spurring Hammon on, as she’s won four out of five games she has coached so far. “This has just kind of thrown me into the fire a little bit, and you’ll either melt or it’ll make you harder and stronger,” Hammon said. “Like gold.” Hammon she was passed over by every WNBA team as a player when she left college, but she persisted and convinced teams to give her a tryout — and then went on to become a six-time All-Star in the WNBA. “You gotta be persistent and resilient,” she said. “Whether it be people not drafting me, trading me, people telling me I’m not good enough to be on their team.” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who knew her as a longtime player for the Spurs and often discussed basketball strategy with her, “handed her the hammer to smash the glass ceiling” when he offered her a position as an assistant-coach. Hammon says that her greatest satisfaction would be once people drop the label of “first female coach” and just call her “coach, she says. “It’s always a fine line for me, because I don’t want to downplay the significance of it, because it is a big deal. But I also want it to be known that I was hired because I was qualified.”
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