As reported by the Athletic’s Shams Charania and Chantel Jennings, Becky Hammon will leave the San Antonio Spurs at the end of the season and become the new head coach of the Las Vegas Aces. It is also reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that it is a 5 year contract deal that will make her the highest paid coach in the WNBA.
This is huge news. It shows tremendous growth than an ex- WNBA player left the NBA to come coach in the WNBA. It also shows the level of respect from the Aces organization that they were willing to pay Hammon a large sum of money to entice her to leave her current NBA job as an assistant coach.
Two weeks ago, LaChina Robinson had Hammon on her podcast where Hammon discussed various topics and when Robinson asked Hammon if she would consider a WNBA head coaching job, she said “Don’t be surprised, I am interested” and she had this look on her face that she wasn’t joking and that she was entirely serious.
I think for all of us, we thought it was cool and that she would consider the Liberty and the Mercury jobs since they had head coach openings. I didn’t think it would be the Aces, because they never fired their head coach Bill Laimbeer. So, this was a bit shocking, when I first read the rumours about the Liberty and Mercury pursuing Hammon as their head coach reported by the Athletic on Christmas Day.
In that same article, it did say that Laimbeer would move to a different role in the Aces organization and that he would not be fired. Moving forward, I’m assuming that he will probably help Hammon and the team. The Aces have been a top 4 team since 2019 and Laimbeer has played a role in accomplishing that.
This move also shows that ex-WNBA players value the WNBA and it’s importance. It also shows that Hammon values the teams she played for. Hammon’s jersey was retired by the Aces last season and she’s been a part of the franchise when they were in San Antonio. She’s important and integral to the Aces franchise.
For so long and for many, many years, I’ve had to put up with reports from various sports companies saying that the WNBA “sucks”, “losing money,” and isn’t worth the trouble. This was a nice reminder that the WNBA DOES matter. It matters a lot.
For me personally, I’ve been a fan of the WNBA since 2008. The first team that I grew attached too, was the San Antonio Silver Stars. Both Hammon and Sophia Young were the team stars and the team of Hammon, Young, Helen Darling, Vickie Johnson and Ann Wauters helped get the team to the WNBA Finals in 2008 in which they lost to the Detroit Shock.
I remember watching in awe just how good of a team this was and I then followed the Silver Stars/Stars franchise for a few more years before I started blogging and writing about them. This blog used to be centered around the Stars and I did game previews, game recaps, etc. I, also used to write for a website regarding the Stars too.
When Hammon retired, I still wrote about the Stars for about one more year before I decided to do general women’s basketball coverage for the blog. It didn’t feel the same. Hammon brought alot of energy and play, and the Stars lost it. They kept going to the lottery and when they moved to Las Vegas, I wasn’t surprised. I was just sad.
To see the Aces now and to have Hammon back in the fold, it is truly wonderful. A full circle moment. The Aces care about their previous star players/franchises and it is so nice to see in the WNBA. I hope, moving forward, that all WNBA franchises care this much. Care to make a difference.
I’m still smiling. Joyful. Because for me, as a former San Antonio Silver Stars/Stars fan, this is like a dream. A wonderful dream. Hammon left the NBA after 7 years of being an assistant coach and is coming back to a franchise that has celebrated her since her arrival. What could be more better than that? Truly a Hallmark moment.