- Becky Hammon getting an interview for an NBA head coaching job – making her the first woman to do so – has sparked debate in NBA circles.
- Pau Gasol, who has played under Hammon with the San Antonio Spurs, wrote a piece highlighting how effective she is at coaching.
Current San Antonio Spurs assistant coach and long-time WNBA star recently broke a new glass ceiling by becoming the first woman to interview for a head coaching job in the NBA, a development that has generated some, ahem, “spirited” controversy.
So, in a new piece for The Player’s Tribune, San Antonio Spurs player and NBA veteran Pau Gasol has decided to set the record straight on Hammon’s coaching abilities and qualifications.
“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,” Gasol wrote (emphasis his).
To emphasize his point, Gasol shared a great anecdote from one Spurs practice.
“But what I remember about this particular drill is that, at some point during it, Coach Hammon stopped us mid-motion. Coaches Hammon, Borrego and Messina walk over, and Becky says to Dejounte, ‘D.J., O.K. – your bounce pass? It’s too low. You’ve got to hit Pau exactly where he needs it. Run that again,'” Gasol wrote.
“She noticed a small detail out of the corner of her eye – and then instantly located both the problem and the solution. And not only that, but we were also able to communicate with each other in such a way that we got the result that we needed. It’s a good reminder, I’d say, of the importance of communication between team members – especially at the NBA level. I don’t think I caught another stray pass the rest of the season.”
And Gasol has plenty of other interesting things to say about Hammon becoming a head coach, so you should definitely check out the whole piece.