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Spurs’ Hammon breaks barrier, becomes first woman to coach NBA game

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SAN ANTONIO – While it may not have been the most spectacular of circumstances, San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon finally got her chance to lead the team in a regular season game, filling in for head coach Gregg Popovich after he was ejected in the first half of a 120-107 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

Hammon, 43, became the first female in NBA history to act as head coach during a regular season game. This isn’t her first time making history as a coach, however, as she is also the first full-time female assistant coach in any of four major American sports leagues and and served as the Spurs’ Summer League head coach in 2015, leading them to the championship. She has been a part of the Spurs organization since 2014, when she was hired on as an assistant after attending team meetings during the season while rehabbing an ACL injury suffered as a member of the San Antonio Stars (now the Las Vegas Aces).

Wednesday’s accomplishment, while it didn’t end in a win, was not lost on Hammon.

“Obviously, it’s a big deal, it’s a substantial moment,” Hammon said after the game. “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.”

Hammon was called up to lead the team after Popovich received a technical foul with 5:36 left in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game, which led to him arguing with a ref over a no-call that ultimately got him ejected from the game.

Chris Bullock
Chris Bullock
Before joining The Ball Out, Chris Bullock was part of SB Nation's Swish Appeal for nearly three years, covering everything women's basketball. Chris has had the honor of doing live coverage of the WNBA Finals, the NCAA Tournament, and also was given his own column, "The Triple Double". A self-described "foodaholic", Chris lives in the San Diego area with his wife and two daughters, and also hosts his own podcast, "Conscious Cravings", where he speaks about his experience as a mental health advocate.

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