Girl Boss: Trailblazing Becky Hammon

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Becky Hammon is not only the first and only  full time female coach in the NBA league, she is also the first full time coach out of all four major professional American sports (i.e. basketball, football, baseball, and hockey).

She met the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich, on a trip home from the London Olympics a couple years ago. Apparently she made quite an impression on him, because the following year she began shadowing as a coaching intern, and was shortly after offered a full-time position.

Without a doubt, Becky Hammon is a girl boss. However, while my girl power wings were in full flutter effect as I read her story in Marie Claire this past weekend, the feminine pride swelling within me seemed to dim a little bit at the sour realization that this is the year 2015, and we still have only one full time female coach in all of the NBA and four leading professional sports.

It was especially troubling to think about as I reflected on the number of male coaches who have clustered the WNBA. If coaching gender disparities in the NBA are due to a male dominated league, should not the WNBA reflect the same coaching demographics? Should not all the coaches be women, or is it just more acceptable for women to be coached by the opposite sex, than men?

Are the women who have gone on to be all American college basketball stars, who have spent their entire lives living, eating, and bleeding basketball gusto somehow less than their male counterparts who possess exactly the same qualifications? Or maybe it’s the fact that these qualifications often become negated when attached to a vagina.

Well if I had my guess, I would go with the latter, and a bunch of other dimwitted sexist beliefs that have contributed to widespread negative stereotypes of women in sports. I won’t even get into my ideas of how I think there should be a combined male and female national league (I’ll save that for another post). Either way, it is 2015 guys; we shouldn’t have only one full time female coach in all of the NBA. Becky Hammon is a brilliant woman, but she’s not the only one.


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Akanimoh Ekong studies creative writing at the University of Illinois, with special interests in women's issues as they relate to sexuality and race. She previously has written “Girlfriends” column for Buzz magazine. Akanimoh believes the art of fashion should be the utmost form of self-expression. She dually enjoys blogging on issues pertaining to fashion and pop culture news.

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