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San Antonio Spurs hire league’s first-ever female assistant coach

Because sometimes when you reach for the glass ceiling, you come down with the backboard.

The San Antonio Spurs have hired the first female full-time assistant coach in NBA history. Not just any little lady who can ball, mind you; they hired Becky Hammon, an eight-season vet of the San Antonio Stars and a six-time WNBA all-star.

“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich in a statement from the Spurs announcing the historic hire. “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.”

The scrappy South Dakota native isn’t new to the media spotlight; aside from her successful basketball career, she ruffled feathers when she played for Russia in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, after becoming a naturalized Russian citizen. She was concerned about being snubbed by the U.S. team and missing the Games altogether. The decision led to many in the media to question her patriotism.

“I had reporters from all over the world asking me questions,” Hammon told ESPN about the firestorm surrounding her decision. “Everywhere I went that’s all anyone wanted to talk about.”

This experience under intense media scrutiny will serve her well as she strikes out to become the first female leader in a man’s world. Hammon joins European coach Ettore Messina who was hired to join the Spurs staff a few weeks ago.

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