On Sunday, Becky Hammon, an American-Russian professional basketball coach, became the first rookie coach to win the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) title.
Hammon became a championship coach, guiding her Las Vegas Aces to the WNBA title with a 78-71 Game 4 victory over the Connecticut Sun. She and the Aces beat out the Connecticut Sun, 3-1, in the WNBA Finals, becoming the champion for the first time since its inaugural. The Aces got the league's best regular-season record at 26-10 and defeated the Phoenix Mercury and Seattle Storm in the playoffs, earning the championship trophy. Hammon is the first in WNBA history to win a title in her debut season as a head coach since WNBA started in 1996. Only six head coaches, including Hammon, led teams to victory in their debuts even in NBA.
Coach Hammon has been many female firsts in the U.S. basketball field. From 1999 to 2012, she was a WNBA player. And in 2014, she became the first full-time paid coach for the Saint Antonio Stars. At the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, Hammon became the first woman to be part of an All-Star coaching staff. In December 2020, when coach Gregg Popovich was ejected during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Hammon became the first female acting head coach in the history of the NBA.
On August 27, when Becky Hammon was named 2022 WNBA Coach of the Year, she said that if she were a man named Brian, she would have been working as an NBA coach several times, adding that all the struggles she’s gone through gave her the strength needed for her to go on.”