Rebecca Lynn Hammon, also known as Becky Hammon, is an American-born basketball player. At the end of the 2000s, she played for the Russian national team and even secured several victories for it. Becky has been repeatedly recognised as the best player, setting an all-time record for her performance. Now she is an NBA coach, though not the main one, it can change in the future. Interestingly, both Americans and Russians consider the athlete to be of their nationality. And this is not surprising because this still young woman has done a lot for both American and Russian sports. Let’s talk about it in more detail.
Hammon’s career began in her student years. Like most American athletes, she joined the National Collegiate Sports Association. She played for the University of Colorado national team in the early 2000s, became a legend of it and permanently secured the number 25. The T-shirt with this number is still displayed in the main home arena of the University.Further events in the professional life of the athlete developed as follows:
- joining the WNBA (women’s NBA)
- participation in tournaments of the National Women’sWomen’s Basketball League;
- becoming one of the top 15 best players of the National Women’sWomen’s Basketball League (2011);
- playing in the national teams of Spain and Italy.
In 2007, CSKA Moscow made Becky an offer which she could not refuse.
The American basketball player felt more than comfortable in the Russian national team. In 2008, at the Beijing Olympics, the Russian national team won a bronze medal solely thanks to her virtuoso performance. In 2009, the Russian national team defeated France, Latvia and then Spain in Eurobasket tournaments. Hammon scored 28 points. However, in the final, the Russians still lost to the French, and Becky scored only 9 points.
At the World Championship in 2010, Hammon managed to earn only 16 points. The team did not even reach the semifinals, ousted by the Belarusian basketball players. Interestingly, the Belarusians did not win either. The finalists were American women.
At the 2012 Olympics, the Russians also failed to win anything serious, but they performed well in the playoff games. Hammon was recognised as the best sniper numerous times, but the Australians won, not letting the Russian team earn a bronze medal.Playing in clubsIn Russia, Becky played for such clubs as:
- Sparta & K
Not everything went well and smoothly with the first club, and it became a scandal. The contract had to be terminated, and the club accused the athlete of a bad game.
In 2013, Hammon left Russia and returned to the United States, where she announced her retirement from sports.
In 2014, Hammon joined the NBA. She was assigned to assist the head coach of the Sant’AntonioSant’Antonio national team. And this, in general, can be considered as a huge leap in the career. There were no women in this position yet. Many, it should be noted, were against the appointment of Becky for this position since her departure from the American team and playing for the Russian national team was regarded as a betrayal. Becky was accused of money chasing, prudence and careerism.
And the athlete never tried to hide the fact that she wants to achieve more than she is offered at home. The fact is that despite all the successes and playing for the University of Colorado team, Becky did not get into the US national team at the time. Yes, she successfully played for her alma mater, but by the time of graduation, she was already too old to be interested in any coach involved in training athletes for the national team. The national team selected young people aged 14-16, it was much easier to deal with them than with adult athletes who had already tasted fame. Becky did not want to bury her talent and so ended up in Russia, which is something many compatriots cannot forgive her even now.
So, since 2014, Hammon has been helping the head coach of the national team. At the same time, she has not given up hope of becoming the first female coach in the history of the NBA. But so far, this hope is unrealistic. It is known that Becky has repeatedly tried to sign up for interviews with the management of other teams in the NBA, in need of the head coach. But she always got a refusal, the desired position was always given to a man. This was the case, for example, during negotiations with Portland. Becky was invited to an interview and even seriously encouraged, but the job went to a man again. Chauncey Billups
became the new coach.
The closest Becky got to her dream was this year, 2021, when the head coach Gregg Popovich was removed for endless and very aggressive arguments with the judges about the scores and cards. The team was clearly not prepared for such a turn of events. But Becky was able to stabilise the situation, as Coach Popovich chose her out of all his other assistants. The team lost, but Becky was not blamed for this defeat, on the contrary, according to critics, she deserved praise because she managed to support the team during the most difficult final period of the game. Hammon’s work was highly appreciated by the head coach and even by the rivals. And here, it should be noted that, even if it was for a short period of time, Becky was still able to fulfil her dream.
Moreover, she became the first woman who was entrusted with such a serious matter. Previously, even for a short time, the post of head coach was given exclusively to men. US Vice President Kamala Harris and the famous basketball player James LeBron, a four-time NBA champion, congratulated Becky Hammon on this short episode in her life. James noted how nice it is to hear Becky’sBecky’s commands on the court, in his opinion, this woman really puts her whole soul into the game. The leader of the Spurs team, Dejounte Murray, believes that if she does not give up, then a great future awaits her.
But neither congratulations nor the successful game of the team under Becky’s management is yet able to overcome the prejudice that prevents a woman from holding the post of head coach of the NBA. This is not something that has happened and will not happen yet, as many male coaches believe. But Becky does not give up, she moves towards her goal with consistency, and this goal may already be closer than it seems. Spurs head coach Popovich is 72 years old. For a coach, this is a considerable age, and perhaps by choosing Becky, Popovich was just checking to see how the audience and the team would react to a female coach.
Thus, Becky has every chance to become the first female head coach of the NBA in the coming years. The Russian national team can be proud of the fact that it helped the basketball player, if not to get through difficult times, then definitely to reach her full potential.
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