Becky Hammon Becomes the First Hired Female NBA Coach

November 12, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. naturalize /ˈnætʃ(ə)rəlaɪz/  (v.) – to become an official citizen of one country
Example: The player requested to be naturalized as an Italian to play for the country’s football team.

2. ethic /ˈeθɪk/ (n.) – a set of values that helps a person distinguish right from wrong
Example: The coach is known for his professional ethics.

3. interpersonal /in-ˈtər ˈpərs-nəl/ (adj.) – relating to relationship between people
Example: The coach was hired because of his good interpersonal skills.

4. roster /ˈräs-tər ˈrȯs- or ˈrōs-/ (n.) – list of names and duties of people who work together in an organization
Example: The team will announce the names of the players on the championship roster.

5. innovate /ˈɪn əˌveɪt/ (v.) – to come up with new ideas and plans.
Example: The organization has to innovate constantly to stay in the market.


Read the text below.
The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star Becky Hammon [HAM-uh n] has been hired as an assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs, making her the first hired female assistant coach in the NBA history.

Hammon, who retired in her 16th WNBA season, ranked seventh in the WNBA Top 15 players of All-Time in 2011 for scoring 5,809 points, fourth in assists with 1,687, and sixth in games with 445. She was also naturalized as a Russian citizen in 2008 when she represented the Russian National Team in 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich [POP-a-ho- vih-ch] said that he looks forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to his staff. He also believes that Hammon’s basketball IQ, work ethic, and interpersonal skills will have great contributions to the team.

Respected coach assistants Mike Budenholzer [BOO-den HOHL-zer] and Brett Brown left Spurs to coach different teams. Budenholzer is currently the head coach of Atlanta Hawks, while Brett is the coach of Philadelphia 76ers [SEV-uh n-tee-SIKS-erz]. To fill in the slots, the Spurs have also hired Jim Boylen and Ettore Messina alongside Hammon. Messina had a very successful international coaching career and became a part of the coaching staff for Los Angeles Lakers in the 2011-2012 season. 

Majority of the Spurs’s new roster are not from the United States. Also, the hiring of Hammon shows that the team is not afraid to innovate the framework of building an organization. The team is concentrated more on keeping their strength rather than their star players.

Hammon’s professional record not only impressed Popovich but also the organization for her knowledge of the game.  

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think hiring a female assistant coach is a good move for the Spurs? Why or why not?
·         What do you think will be the impact of this move to the role of women in sports?

Discussion B

·         What are the advantages of hiring a coaching staff from another country? Explain your answer.
·         What could be the negative impact of hiring coaching staff members from another country?

November 12, 2014