Spurs Praised For Becky Hammon Hire, Seen As Game-Changer For Women In Sports
WNBA Stars G Becky Hammon will retire at the end of this season and join the Spurs' coaching staff, becoming the "first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history," according to Fran Blinebury of NBA.com. The hiring is "big, potentially a game-changer and another milestone for women in sports and as professionals in general." For the Spurs, it is a "way to push at the envelope, leap way outside the box of conventional thinking." They won their fifth NBA title in June with a roster "consisting of 10 international players that came from eight different countries." Blinebury: "No surprise at all that it’s the Spurs breaking right through the envelope" (NBA.com, 8/5). In San Antonio, Dan McCarney noted Hammon’s hiring "continues a ground-breaking summer for the Spurs, who previously hired European legend Ettore Messina to serve as an assistant" (MYSANANTONIO.com, 8/5). In N.Y., Andrew Keh writes around the basketball community, it was "not surprising that the Spurs were the first organization to make a woman a full-time coach." They are "often praised for applying innovative and outside-the-box thinking to their basketball operations" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/6). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "The Spurs are ahead of the curve in almost everything. This does not surprise me. I don't know what it will lead to, I don't know if others will match their progressiveness. But I want to applaud the Spurs for doing that” ("PTI," ESPN, 8/5). ESPNW's Kate Fagan wrote it "makes sense" that the Spurs organization, which has "always marched very effectively to the beat of its own drum, has stepped forward and done just that" (ESPNW.com, 8/5). ESPN’s Max Kellerman said of the Spurs, "This is why they're so good. They use all the resources available when others aren't thinking that way” (“SportsNation,” ESPN2, 8/5).
THE GENIUS CLUB: In San Antonio, Roy Bragg writes Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and GM R.C. Buford have a "sterling reputation around the world as legitimate basketball geniuses." If Buford and Popovich were to "hire a nutria to coach, rest assured that nutria can run the star drill in practice and call the right play with 1.2 seconds left in a game" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 8/6). In New Jersey, Steve Popper writes, "If you think it’s a publicity stunt, you don’t know the Spurs, and more specifically, you don’t know Gregg Popovich." The Spurs have "always been the standard for how to do business in professional sports and now they set a new blueprint in place, breaking a barrier with a shrug that left us wondering, like them, why it was there in the first place" (Bergen RECORD, 8/6). In Hartford, Jeff Jacobs writes to "be sure, this is no PR stunt" and "no sideshow" (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/6).