San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon made history on Wednesday night by taking over head coaching duties after Gregg Popovich was ejected. She is now the first woman to serve as head coach in an NBA game.
Popovich was ejected with 3:56 remaining in the second quarter during the 121-107 loss to the Lakers, leaving Hammon to assume the role of head coach in his absence.
“I try not to think of the huge picture and huge aspect of it because it can be overwhelming,” Hammon told reporters after the game. “I really have had no time to reflect. I have not had time to look at my phone. So, I don’t know what’s going on outside the AT&T Center.”
“[I was] trying to get the guys in the right spots,” she continued. “Trying to get them motivated. Obviously, it’s a learning situation for all of us, but I would have loved to have walked out there with a win with the guys.”
The Lakers’ LeBron James, who turned 36 on Wednesday night and celebrated with 26 points, eight assists and five rebounds against the Spurs, offered his congratulations to Hammon after the game.
“Obviously she’s been paying her dues over the last few years and Coach Pop has given her the opportunity,” he said. “It’s a beautiful thing just to hear her barking out calls, barking out sets. She’s very passionate about the game. Congrats to her and congrats for our league.”