Becky Hammond is the new secret weapon for the San Antonio Spurs—and the first and only female coach in major American sports.
Eight years ago, Becky Hammon, then a star point guard for the WNBA team the San Antonio Stars, was at a crossroads. She’d made the All-Star team four times during her tenure in the WNBA, but she was fast losing sight of her dream to play in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Despite her successes—before joining the WNBA, she broke Colorado State’s records for scoring, steals, and assists, earning the title of All-American three times—she had been largely overlooked by the U.S. Olympic team.
Undaunted and determined to play, Hammon still wound up on the Beijing court—but wearing a Russian jersey. While many female basketball players join overseas teams during the off-season to earn extra money, Hammon chose to apply for Russian citizenship and formally become a dual citizen. It stirred up plenty of flack back home, and also earned her a bronze medal (the U.S. won the gold). The Russian decision “laid a foundation for me to step out and be bold and do what I know is right to do,” Hammon says. “Even if you take some crap.” Read More
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