Will a woman one day coach an NBA team? Yes. NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes so, anyway. He also hopes it will happen in the near future.
Portland Trail Blazers star C.J. McCollum interviewed the draft for The Players’ Tribune. The entire interview touched on a number of topics. One of those topics was whether a woman will one day coach an NBA team.
“I do think there will be a female head coach at some point, and I hope that it’s sooner rather than later,” Silver said. “Of course, we have Becky Hammon in San Antonio as an assistant coach and she’s getting great mentoring under Gregg Popovich. I think that women are never going to become head coaches unless, most likely, they get opportunities to be assistant coaches first. It should be a level playing field. I think over time, and you can speak to this as a player, that players respect great coaching regardless of where it comes from. It’s a meritocracy and everybody has to compete that much harder for their jobs.”
The first female head coach?
Adam Silver hopes it happens sooner rather than later.
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) July 26, 2017
The progress of Hammon would certainly point to Silver’s goal happening at some point.
Hammon has been an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs since 2014. She even coached their 2015 Summer League team.
Her success opens up two distinct possibilities for a woman becoming a head coach.
The most obvious is that one day a team will hire Hammon for its head coaching job. A number of vacancies come open every year and assistants on the league’s best teams are often considered for those. Given San Antonio’s consistent position near the top of the NBA standings, it’s assistants should all be prime candidates for those jobs. Hammon certainly hasn’t flown under the radar, either. She was even a candidate for the Milwaukee Bucks general manager job in 2017.
Her impact could also be felt as more women follow her lead to assistant jobs. While that hasn’t really happened yet, Hammon’s success in San Antonio will only serve to open doors for women in the future. Silver is correct in that most (if not all) of the time, a head coach will need to be a good assistant first. But the more female assistants there are, the more likely it is that at least one will get a head coaching job.
It’s hard to place an exact estimation on when it might happen. But the goal of a female head coach is one that could potentially happen very soon.