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Rebecca Lynn Hammon (Russian: Ребекка Линн Хэммон; born March 11, 1977) is a Russian-American assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and a retired professional basketball player. Hammon played for the San Antonio Stars and New York Liberty of the Women's National Basketball Association, as well as multiple basketball teams outside of the United States. Hammon, who was born and grew up in the United States, became a naturalized Russian citizen in 2008 and represented the Russian national team in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.[1]

Becky Hammon
Becky Hammon.jpg
Hammon at the Ellsworth Air Force Base in February 2002
San Antonio Spurs
PositionAssistant coach
LeagueNBA
Personal information
Born (1977-03-11) March 11, 1977 (age 41)
Rapid City, South Dakota
NationalityAmerican / Russian
Listed height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Listed weight136 lb (62 kg)
Career information
High schoolStevens (Rapid City, South Dakota)
CollegeColorado State (1995–1999)
WNBA draft1999 / Undrafted
Playing career1999–2014
PositionPoint guard
Number25
Coaching career2014–present
Career history
As player:
1999–2006New York Liberty
2001–2002Trentino Rovereto Basket
2006–2007Rivas Ecópolis
2007–2014San Antonio Stars
2007–2009CSKA Moscow
2009–2010Ros Casares Valencia
2010–2011Nadezhda Orenburg
2011–2012Spartak Moscow Region
As coach:
2014–presentSan Antonio Spurs (assistant)
Career highlights and awards
Stats at WNBA.com

On August 5, 2014, Hammon was hired by the Spurs as an assistant coach, becoming the second female assistant coach in NBA history, and the first full-time assistant coach.[2] This also makes her the first full-time female assistant coach in any of the four major professional sports in North America.[2] On July 3, 2015, the Spurs announced that Hammon would be the team's Summer League head coach, the first woman to be a head coach in that league. Hammon led the Spurs to the Las Vegas Summer League title on July 20, 2015.[3]

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Rebecca Lynn "Becky" Hammon was born in Rapid City, South Dakota.[4] She is natural-born citizen of the United States and became a naturalized Russian citizen in 2008. She competed with the Russian women's national basketball team at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Hammon learned to dribble a basketball at a very young age, playing Nerf ball with her older brother and father, and continued to hone her skills on her home court.[4] She was raised as a devout Christian.[4]

Hammon played basketball at Stevens High School in her hometown of Rapid City, South Dakota.[4] As a junior, she was named South Dakota Miss Basketball. As a senior, she was voted the South Dakota Player of the Year[4] after averaging 26 points, 4 rebounds and 5 steals per game. She graduated in 1995, and also was voted female class athlete by her graduating class.

Despite the accolades, she drew little attention from college basketball recruiters, who considered her too small and too slow. She eventually grabbed the attention of a Colorado State assistant coach, and she committed to the Rams.[4]

College careerEdit

Hammon's prolific scoring for the Colorado State Rams made her an All-American three times, as well as Colorado Sportswoman of the Year. She led her team to a 33–3 record in the 1998–99 season and helped them advance to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen. She was named the WAC Mountain Division player of the year for the 1998–99 season and surpassed University of Utah player Keith Van Horn as the WAC's all-time leading scorer.

Hammon set many Colorado State all-time records, including points (2740), points per game (21.92), field goals made (918), free throws made (539), three-point field goals made (365) and assists (538). She received the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award from the Women's Basketball Coaches Association as the best senior player under 5 ft 8 in (1.7 m) in 1999.[5]

On November 12, 2004, Hammon was inducted into the Colorado State University Sports Hall of Fame. On January 22, 2005, her number 25 Colorado State jersey was retired at Moby Arena.[6]

Professional careerEdit

Undrafted during her rookie season, Hammon was signed to the WNBA on May 12, 1999 and joined the New York Liberty. She had a solid rookie season statistically, backing up starting point guard Teresa Weatherspoon. Her aggressive play at both ends of the court made her a favorite among Liberty fans. After the 2003 season, Hammon took over for Weatherspoon as the Liberty's starting point guard and, with Vickie Johnson and Crystal Robinson, became one of the team's co-captains in 2004.

In her first season in 2003 with the Tennessee Fury of the National Women's Basketball League (NWBL), Hammon led the league in scoring, averaging 20.6 points per game. In 2004, Hammon signed with the Colorado Chill, a new team in the NWBL, but played in only two games because of an anterior cruciate ligament injury in her right knee sustained in the 2003 season when playing for the Liberty.[7]

Primarily used to provide instant points off the bench, Hammon had a breakout season in 2003, providing much-needed offense for the Liberty. However, her season was cut short by a knee injury.[8] On August 16, 2005, Hammon scored her 2,000th WNBA career point. At the end of the 2005 season, she was named to the All-WNBA Second Team.[9] In January 2007, she played her WNBA "off season" with Rivas Futura in the Spanish League.[10]

On April 4, 2007, during the WNBA Draft, Hammon was traded to the Silver Stars, along with a second round draft pick in the 2008 draft, for the second overall first round pick in the 2007 WNBA Draft, center Jessica Davenport.[11] Hammon posted career high averages of 18.8 ppg (fourth best) and 5.0 apg (first in WNBA) in 2007. While in San Antonio, Hammon earned the nickname, "Big Shot Becky" because of her ability to hit shots in clutch moments. It comes from the nickname "Big Shot Rob" given to San Antonio Spurs forward, Robert Horry.[12]

 
Becky Hammon speaking to the audience during her induction into the Ring of Honor
 
Replica of the Ring of honor awarded to Becky Hammon at her induction ceremony

Hammon averaged 17.6 ppg, and 4.9 apg as she led the Silver Stars to a WNBA best record 24–10 and led them into the playoffs for a second straight year. In the conference semi-finals, Hammon scored 30 points in a Game 1 win against the Sacramento Monarchs. San Antonio would eventually win the series and advance to the Western Conference Finals. Following a loss in Game 1 and a win in Game 2, Hammon's 35 points propelled the Silver Stars to a victory in Game 3 against the Los Angeles Sparks. The Silver Stars advanced to the WNBA Finals where they were defeated by the Detroit Shock 3–0.

Hammon averaged a career-high 19.5 ppg and 5.0 apg in the 2009 WNBA season. The Silver Stars had a record of 15–19 and lost to the eventual champion Phoenix Mercury in the first round. Hammon was an All-Star as well as a first-team All-WNBA selection. On August 31, 2011, Hammon became the seventh player in WNBA history to score 5,000 points. Later in the year, Hammon scored 37 points in a playoff-clinching win against the Los Angeles Sparks.

On August 2, 2015, Hammon was inducted into the Ring of Honor during halftime of the game between the New York Liberty and the Seattle Storm. The Ring of Honor recognizes players who have "made the most significant contributions to the Liberty's tradition of excellence and to the growth of the WNBA."[13][14] Previous inductees include Vickie Johnson, Teresa Weatherspoon, Rebecca Lobo, Sue Wicks, and Kym Hampton.[15]

On June 25, 2016, the San Antonio Stars retired Hammon's No. 25 jersey prior to the Atlanta Dream game.[16]

Coaching careerEdit

Hammon had long expressed aspirations of becoming a coach after her playing career. On July 13, 2013, Hammon tore her left anterior cruciate ligament in a game against the Los Angeles Sparks. During her year-long rehabilitation, Hammon attended the NBA's San Antonio Spurs' practices, coaches' meetings, and games, where she was frequently invited to contribute opinions.[17]

On August 5, 2014, Hammon was hired as an assistant coach for the Spurs, becoming the second female coach in NBA history.[18] Hammon's contribution to the staff made an impression on head coach Gregg Popovich. In a media statement released at the time of the hiring announcement, Popovich stated: "I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff. Having observed her working with our team this past season, I'm confident her basketball IQ, work ethic, and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs."[18]

With Hammon's outstanding coaching, Hammon was further honored that year with the announcement that she would be inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, and with her selection as ESPNW's Woman of the Year.[19]

On July 3, 2015, Hammon became the first-ever female head coach in the NBA's Summer League when the Spurs announced she would coach their team. Hammon led the Spurs to the Las Vegas Summer League title on July 20, 2015, becoming the first female NBA head coach to win a Summer League title.[3] Hammon was the second female assistant in NBA history, after Lisa Boyer to work as a volunteer with the Cleveland Cavaliers and John Lucas in 2001.[20]

At the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, Hammon became the first woman to be part of an All-Star coaching staff.[21]

On June 2, 2017, Hammon was interviewed for the open position of the Milwaukee Bucks as general manager of the team.[22] However, she would not make it as one of the finalists.[23]

WNBA career statisticsEdit

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career high League leader
  WNBA record

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG TO PPG
1999 New York 30 1 6.7 .422 .289 .882 0.6 0.6 0.2 0.0 0.80 2.7
2000 New York 32 16 26.1 .472 .369 .884 2.0 1.8 0.9 0.0 1.94 12.0
2001 New York 32 0 19.3 .457 .378 .784 1.6 1.6 0.8 0.0 1.50 8.2
2002 New York 32 1 20.6 .442 .386 .679 2.1 1.7 0.8 0.0 1.72 8.0
2003 New York 11 2 23.4 .575 .469 .951 1.9 1.6 0.9 0.1 2.45 14.7
2004 New York 34 34 33.2 .432 .335 .836 3.5 4.4 1.7 0.1 3.7 13.5
2005 New York 34 34 34.7 .432 .365 .901 3.4 4.3 1.8 0.1 3.15 13.9
2006 New York 22 20 30.8 .425 .343 .960 3.0 3.7 1.3 0.1 2.95 14.7
2007 San Antonio 28 26 33.4 .445 .404 .931 2.8 5.0 0.8 0.2 4.07 18.8
2008 San Antonio 33 33 33.4 .390 .350 .937 2.8 4.9 1.3 0.2 3.15 17.6
2009 San Antonio 31 31 33.8 .447 .369 .901 3.3 5.0 1.6 0.4 3.58 19.5
2010 San Antonio 32 32 33.6 .442 .390 .960 2.9 5.4 1.1 0.2 3.38 15.1
2011 San Antonio 33 33 31.8 .440 .389 .892 2.9 5.8 1.5 0.2 3.61 15.9
2012 San Antonio 33 33 30.2 .441 .435 .876 2.5 5.3 0.9 0.2 3.21 14.7
2013 San Antonio 1 1 12.0 .333 .000 .000 1.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 3.00 2.0
2014 San Antonio 32 32 24.5 .417 .398 1.000  1.4 4.2 0.4 0.1 1.66 9.1
Career 450 329 27.9 .438 .378 .897 2.5 3.8 1.1 0.1 2.72 13.9

PlayoffsEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG TO PPG
1999 New York 6 0 8.3 .167 .222 1.000 0.2 0.8 0.0 0.0 1.00 2.0
2000 New York 7 7 29.4 .429 .304 .895 1.4 2.1 1.3 0.0 2.43 9.4
2001 New York 6 0 8.0 .353 .300 .000 0.5 0.3 0.2 0.0 0.50 2.5
2002 New York 8 0 22.9 .537 .424 .875 2.1 2.0 0.6 0.0 1.38 9.9
2004 New York 5 5 35.6 .392 .333 .400 2.6 3.4 1.2 0.0 3.80 10.6
2005 New York 2 2 38.0 .450 .286 1.000 3.5 2.0 0.0 0.0 5.00 11.5
2007 San Antonio 5 5 35.0 .413 .444 .800 2.8 5.0 1.2 0.2 3.20 20.8
2008 San Antonio 9 9 36.8 .421 .458 .895 2.3 4.6 1.0 0.6 3.44 18.1
2009 San Antonio 3 3 33.7 .463 .381 .900 2.7 2.0 1.7 0.0 2.33 18.3
2010 San Antonio 2 2 37.0 .393 .389 1.000 3.5 5.5 0.5 0.0 4.00 20.0
2011 San Antonio 3 3 34.7 .350 .391 .857 2.7 4.3 1.7 0.7 3.00 16.3
2012 San Antonio 2 2 35.0 .500 .364 1.000 3.0 4.5 1.0 0.0 3.50 17.0
2014 San Antonio 2 2 28.5 .526 .500 1.000 3.5 4.5 1.5 0.0 2.50 14.5
Career 60 40 27.5 .426 .390 .889 2.0 2.9 0.9 0.1 2.48 12.0

National team careerEdit

United StatesEdit

 
Hammon at the 2012 Summer Olympics

Hammon was named to the team representing the United States at the 1998 William Jones Cup competition in Taipei, Taiwan. The U.S. team, coached by Nell Fortner, won all five games, earning the gold medal for the competition. Hammon scored 18 points over the five games.[24]

RussiaEdit

In 2008, after learning that, once again, she would not be invited to try out for the U.S. national team, Hammon announced she would try to claim a roster slot on the Russian national team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Hammon became a Russian citizen in 2008. The coach of Russia's team, Igor Grudin, is also the sports director of the CSKA team that Hammon plays for in Moscow during the WNBA off-season. Hammon also signed a three-year extension with CSKA Moscow at around the same time she was named as a prospect for the national team.

Hammon's decision to play for Russia was controversial in American basketball.[25] In some circles she was branded an American traitor, with then-U.S. national coach Anne Donovan questioning her patriotism. "If you play in this country, live in this country, and you grow up in the heartland and you put on a Russian uniform, you are not a patriotic person in my mind," Donovan said.[26]

Hammon responded to Donovan's criticism saying, "You don't know me. You don't know what that flag means to me. You don't know how I grew up. The biggest honor in our classroom was who could put up the (American) flag, roll it up right, not let the corners touch the ground. Obviously we definitely define patriotism differently." She has also stated. "I love my country. I love our national anthem. It absolutely gives me chills sometimes. I feel honored to be an American, to be from America because of what we stand for."[26] Hammon said she played for Russia primarily to play on the Olympic stage, and it was not a purely financial decision. However, by obtaining Russian citizenship, her salary with CSKA tripled, and she was eligible to make $250,000 for winning a gold medal for Russia. She would have received a $150,000 bonus for winning a silver medal.[26]

Since then, Anne Donovan changed her position, stating "I don't know that I have any strong thoughts on [Becky Hammon joining the Russian national team] anymore. Even at the time. I've known marathon runners in particular that I've watched over the years have represented other countries. I've watched other athletes do it."[27]

She also said:

The thing that took me off guard with Becky was that it hasn't happened in women's basketball before. And again, the facts around that: that we didn't ask her to participate, that we didn't ask her to try out for our team, that's really what I had the most issue with. Becky made a great business decision and this was a great opportunity for her to get to the Olympic Games. I hold no grudge and more power to her. But the facts around it when it first came out were not accurate. Becky came, had a great experience; I'm glad we're going to the gold medal game.[27]

Hammon shot 1-for-6 from the field in a 67–52 loss to the United States in the 2008 Olympic Semifinals, but helped the Russian team to win the bronze medal by scoring 22 points against China.

She played for Russia at EuroBasket 2009, the 2010 World Championship and the 2012 Olympics.

Popular cultureEdit

Hammon was shown in Marie Claire magazine's "The 8 Greatest Moments for Women in Sports".[28]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Becky Hammon Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine.. sports-reference.com
  2. ^ a b Becky Hammon was born to coach. Espn.go.com (2014-08-05). Retrieved on 2016-05-20.
  3. ^ a b Becky Hammon to be first female head coach in summer league. Espn.go.com (2015-07-03). Retrieved on 2016-05-20.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Thomas, Louisa (2018-04-09). "How Far Can Becky Hammon Go in the N.B.A.?". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
  5. ^ "Frances Pomeroy Naismith". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  6. ^ https://www.biography.com/people/becky-hammon
  7. ^ "Liberty's Hammon Out for Season With Knee Injury". LA Times. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Ackert, Kristie (June 28, 2003). "Knee Injury KO'S Hammon for Year". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  9. ^ "2005 All-WNBA Teams Announced". WNBA. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  10. ^ "From Russia with Love: Becky Hammon". HoopsJunk.wordpress.com. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  11. ^ "Complete 2007 WNBA Draft Board". WNBA.com. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  12. ^ Gillette, Felix (2005-06-16). "Sideshow Bob". slate.com. Archived from the original on 4 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  13. ^ "Liberty Ring of Honor Fan Vote". wnba.com. Retrieved 13 Aug 2015.
  14. ^ "New York Liberty install Hammon in ring of honor". nba.com. Aug 3, 2015. Retrieved 13 Aug 2015.
  15. ^ "Ring of Honor". Liberty.wnba.com. Retrieved 13 Aug 2015.
  16. ^ "San Antonio Stars to Retire Becky Hammon's No. 25 Jersey on June 25 - WNBA.com - Official Site of the WNBA".
  17. ^ "Gregg Popovich invites WNBA star Becky Hammon to Spurs' practices". Los Angeles Times. 2014-05-05. Retrieved 2014-06-17.
  18. ^ a b Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst, "Becky Hammon Hired to Spurs' Staff", ESPN.com, Aug. 5, 2014.
  19. ^ "Becky Hammon". Biography. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
  20. ^ Sharp, Andrew (2014-08-05). "The Spurs Can't Stop Winning: Gregg Popovich Just Hired a Female Assistant Coach". Grantland. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
  21. ^ Becky Hammon makes history again, will be first female All-Star coach. Cbssports.com. Retrieved on 2016-05-20.
  22. ^ "Bucks line up Becky Hammon for GM job".
  23. ^ "Sources: Bucks finalizing list of GM candidates".
  24. ^ "1998 Women's R. William Jones Cup," USA Basketball, August 3, 2014.
  25. ^ "Hammon Not Going To Be The Most Popular Gal At The V.F.W". deadspin.com. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  26. ^ a b c "Olympics opportunity too much for Hammon to pass up". espn.com. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  27. ^ a b "USA Woman's national team: USA 67, Russia 52". USA Woman's Basketball. 2008-08-21. Archived from the original on 2010-08-16. Retrieved 2012-09-30.
  28. ^ Friedman, Megan. "Historic Moments in Female Sports – Athletic Women". Marieclaire.com. Retrieved 2015-04-16.

External linksEdit