Veteran WNBA player Becky Hammon is joining the reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs’ coaching staff.
The Spurs made the announcement Tuesday. Terms of the contract were not revealed.
Hammon, who is currently in her 16th WNBA season, announced July 23 that she would retire as a player at the end of the 2014 season.
“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
Hammon is not the first woman hired to be an NBA assistant. Lisa Boyer, now associate head women’s basketball coach at South Carolina, served on John Lucas’ staff in Cleveland in the 2001-02 season.
When Hammon’s 15th WNBA season was derailed because of a knee injury, Popovich invited her to attend his team’s practices.
Popovich was asked in May whether women can coach men’s players, and he replied, “I don’t see why not. There shouldn’t be any limitations. It’s about talent and the ability to do things. It’s not about what your sex is or your race or anything else.”
Named one of the WNBA’s top 15 players of all time in July 2011, Hammon ranks seventh in WNBA history in points (with 5,809), fourth in assists (1,687) and sixth in games (445).
A six-time WNBA All-Star, Hammon has spent the past eight seasons with the San Antonio Stars. She is their all-time leader in assists (1,112) and 3-point field goals made (493) while ranking second in franchise history in points (3,442) and games (218). In 2012, Hammon was the top vote-getter for the Stars’ All-Decade Team.
The Spurs hired European coaching legend Ettore Messina to join Popovich’s staff earlier this summer.