Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving had high praise for San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon after she became the first woman to serve as head coach in an NBA game Wednesday night.
Hammon took the reins from Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich after “Pop” was ejected during a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, a historic moment that resonated with players around the league and even Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The Nets star said Thursday he was glad to see Becky Hammon earn this distinction given the respect she holds around the league. Kyrie also spoke on the need for greater female empowerment from a holistic perspective:
“There shouldn’t be any role that is deemed for male or female. It should be open. And that should be the principal that we all live by. But there is still a fight. And I am grateful to be a part of history and Becky to make history and there is more history to be made for women and their empowerment in the work place, as well as respect across the world,” Nets star Kyrie Irving said, via ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “You know, especially black native women–but all queens in general. So I was grateful to be a part of that.”
Hammon has been an assistant on Popovich’s staff for the past seven years, rising through the ranks to become Pop’s lead assistant. Spurs players spoke at length about their respect and admiration for Hammon after the game.
The former WNBA All-Star has generated some buzz as a future NBA head coach. For now, Hammon is receiving for praise for being the first woman to take that big step, with Irving and others hoping women get more opportunities in the future, both in the NBA and other professions.