After a surprising no-call on DeMar DeRozan with 3:56 remaining in the second quarter, Popovich snapped. His reaction earned him a boot, and paved the way for Hammon to become the first woman to be a head coach in an NBA game.
Prior to exiting the outing, Popovich turned to Hammon, pointed at her, and said: “You got it.”
Hammon said she found out she was taking over for Popovich after he was ejected when, “he pointed at me and said, ‘You got it.’” https://t.co/gdKNOz52Wr
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 31, 2020
After the game, Hammon took a moment to recognize the momentous feat she accomplished on Wednesday night.
“Obviously, it’s a big deal,” she said.
“It’s a substantial moment. 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 has long been regarded as someone who will inevitably land a head-coaching opportunity in the NBA.
The 43-year-old was first hired by the Spurs back in 2014, becoming the second female assistant coach in NBA history and the first female full-time assistant coach in NBA history.
In 2015, she became the first woman to coach an NBA summer league team and led San Antonio to a summer league title. Since then, Hammon has consistently received high praise from current Spurs head coach, Gregg Popovich.
“She’s a special, special woman,” he said.
This past offseason, Hammon was a candidate for the Indiana Pacers’ vacant coaching job. That position ultimately ended up going to Nate Bjorkgren.
Hammon has also frequently been mentioned as a potential candidate for the seemingly annual vacancy that the New York Knicks have at head coach.
One way or another, it’s safe to assume that Wednesday night wasn’t the last time we’ll ever see Hammon in a head-coaching capacity. It’s no longer a matter if, just when.