Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Becky Hammon was named the head coach of the Las Vegas Aces in December 2021. On Wednesday, the six-time WNBA All-Star won a second consecutive WNBA championship as a head coach.
Before taking the job with the Aces, Hammon was an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs under the franchise’s longtime head coach, Gregg Popovich.
The Spurs were playing a preseason game at home Wednesday night while the Aces were in Brooklyn playing the New York Liberty in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals.
Apparently, Popovich was thinking of ways he could get thrown out of the Spurs’ exhibition so he could watch Hammon coach the Aces.
“I gotta go celebrate. Becky Hammon and the Aces. It’s like Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. It’s Becky and the Aces. Fantastic. I thought about getting booted tonight because it was exactly the same time,” Popovich joked during the Spurs’ postgame press conference.
But Popovich, who surpassed Hall of Famer Don Nelson on the NBA’s all-time wins list in 2022, said the Spurs remain his priority.
“But I just thought this has to be my priority. But it was close. It was close. Congrats, Becky. Yeah, baby. Good stuff.”
The five-time NBA champion also urged reporters to ask their questions quickly.
“Quickly, quickly,” Popovich said. “I gotta go get some wine. Can I say that?”
Popovich visited the Aces’ locker room during last year’s WNBA Finals. He also showed support for Hammon after she was named WNBA Coach of the Year.
Hammon played in the WNBA 16 years, half of which were spent with the San Antonio Stars. The Stars played in the same arena as the Spurs until the team relocated to Las Vegas in 2018 and became the Aces.
In 2014, Hammon made history by becoming the first woman to be hired as a full-time assistant coach in NBA history.