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Becky Hammon acts as head coach during NBA game, becomes first woman to do so

Former WNBA sharpshooter Becky Hammon added to her legacy in the city of San Antonio by taking over for the legendary Gregg Popovich for a little over a half on Wednesday night.

Los Angeles v San Antonio Spurs
Former member of the New York Liberty and San Antonio Silver Stars, Becky Hammon is now an assistant coach for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.
Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

On Wednesday night in a contest between the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers, former WNBA star Becky Hammon became the first woman to act as head coach in an NBA game.

Hammon has been an assistant coach for the Spurs for seven years and got the chance to take over the reins with 3:56 to go in the second quarter when San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected.

The Spurs went on to lose 121-107 to the defending champs, but Hammon made history in the process.

Hammon played for the New York Liberty and the San Antonio Silver Stars in the WNBA and has stayed in San Antonio ever since retiring as a player in 2014.

After the game, Hammon said:

Obviously, it’s a big deal. It’s a substantial moment. I’ve been a part of this organization, I got traded here in 2007, so I’ve been in San Antonio and part of the Spurs and sports organization with the Stars and everything for 13 years. So I have a lot of time invested, and they have a lot of time invested in me, in building me and getting me better.

Meanwhile, Popovich offered the following:

Obviously, I think very much of her abilities having hired her. That all began when I saw her play. She was a leader, everybody on the team reacted to her, she was very confident, very competitive, and she led the whole show. ... And when I got to know her and she was in our coaches meetings before she was hired, while she was hurt after the season, we found out about her knack for the game, her innate understanding of what wins, what loses, what has to be there to make a program. So she’s got all of the tools necessary to be a heck of a coach in our league.