Becky Hammon became the first female head coach in the NBA Summer League and make it the first female head coach to bag home the championship, too.
Hammon, who played 16 seasons in the WNBA, steered the San Antonio Spurs to a title in the 67-game, 11-day tournament adding to a collection of five Larry O’Briens the organization had since 1999. The Spurs came back from a 10-point first half deficit and squeezed out a 93-90 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
“It was a grind,” Hammon said. “They’ve been together for 17 days. They really started to jell the last two or three games. They listened, and they played really hard for me. I just really appreciate their attentiveness and alertness. They were tired, but they fought through.”
The Spurs participated in both the Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues, but Hammon served as the head coach only in the higher-profile Vegas event. The Spurs lost the opener to the New York Knicks and then reeled off six straight victories.
Jonathon Simmons scored 23 points and took home MVP honors in the championship game. Treveon Graham added 22 points for the Spurs.
“It’s amazing. It was a humbling experience for all of us,” Simmons told NBATV of playing for Hammon. “I really love her, and I’ve only known her a couple days. She’s a real cool coach. She’s a player coach. That’s something we all like.”
Last year, the Spurs made Hammon the first female full-time assistant coach in NBA history. Earlier this summer, they told her she would lead the team in Las Vegas.