This kid has talent after all. Top five there youre looking for a franchise player. Someone with a killer instinct, and leadership capabilities. And these euro guys — theyre soft, man. No, you cant take this kid. And of course they did take me. Now, you see european players going high in the draft all the time.
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And yet the nba should get a pass because some fans are willing to take it easy on us because were sports? I really hope not. I hope the nba will never feel satisfied with being forward-thinking for a sports league. . Lets strive to be forward-thinking for an industry of any kind. Last week, i dont know if you saw, but the suns hired the first European-born head coach in nba history, igor kokoškov. By all measures, this mobile was a very cool piece of news for the league. But on a personal level man, i have to tell you: this was a special moment for. Its been 17 years now since i was drafted — and yet I can still remember the comments from some of the people at the time. It was, Oh, no you cant take a euro. Maybe later in the first round, yes.
But i also think it goes to something deeper than that, when people will make this argument — in a way that really bothers. It goes to this idea that as were making all of these amazing strides in society, in terms of increasing our social awareness, and making efforts toward ideas like diversity and equality, and just sort essay of creating this more inclusive world somehow sports should. Its this idea, for some people, that sports should almost be this haven, where its. To be closed-minded — like a bubble for all of our worst ignorance. And that as athletes, if we have any problems with the way things are, we should (as the saying goes) stick to sports. So when I see arguments — or even jokes — that we shouldnt have female head coaches in the nba because of locker room situations or whatever i guess it just reminds me that, for as much progress as weve made as a league over these. Because lets be real: There are pushes now for increased gender diversity in the workplace of pretty much every industry in the world. More importantly — its whats right.
First, as for the idea itself: I plan mean, of course its a myth. Give me a break. Theres apple really nothing to say about it even. The players dress in a certain area, and the coaches dress in a certain area. And yes, Im sure, within that coaches area, becky has a private space. But the point is — its not like youre seeing male head coaches sharing a space with players while theyre changing. So all I can tell you is that from a decade and a half of personal experience this line of thinking — like i said, its all just very ridiculous. In terms of the locker room, and in terms of behind the scenes, there really is no practical difference in this league between having a male or a female head coach.
Pops only standard for doing anything is whether itll help us in just one way and it isnt getting good. And getting those Ws The Spurs way. — and then one more thing. Its almost too stupid to include here but at the same time, in another way, i also think its pretty important. And it gets at something about this league, in the bigger picture, that ive been thinking about a lot lately. Its this idea that, if there were a female head coach in the nba, there would be some sort of awkwardness in the locker room. Maybe youre laughing to yourself as you read that. And I get. But I think its worth taking seriously, too, for a moment — just in terms of how embarrassing it is for us as a league that this is something people are actually talking about.
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But something about that moment has just always stuck with. Just, like the level of knowledge of the game that Becky showed, you know what I mean? She noticed a small detail out of the corner of her eye — and essay then instantly located both the problem and the solution. And not only that, but we were also able to communicate with each other in such a way that we got the result that we needed. Its a good reminder, Id say, of the importance of communication between team members — especially at the nba level.
I dont think i caught another stray pass the rest of the season. Another argument that ive seen tossed around — maybe even sillier than the previous one — is that Becky rose to her current position because having her on staff was good. Were talking about the nba here — a business where theres a lot of money on the line, and little patience for mediocrity. Also were talking about the san Antonio spurs, one of the most successful nba franchises of this century: a system that has produced david Robinson, tim Duncan, manu ginóbili, tony parker — and thats just the hall of Famers. This is a team that won 50 games for 18-straight seasons, and five championships in the last 20 years. Darren Abate/ap images, would you really expect coach Pop to develop his staff any differently than he develops his players?
Ill tell you a quick story to illustrate my point. This year, in a practice a few months back, i was drilling the pick-and-roll with Dejounte murray. It was a standard drill, just the two of us alone at one basket: I would set the screen and either pop out for the jumper or roll to the lane. If I popped, dejounte would hit me with a chest pass. If I rolled, a bounce pass. Like i said, a very standard drill — well do this a million times.
But what I remember about this particular drill is that, at some point during it, coach Hammon stopped us mid-motion. Coaches Hammon, borrego and Messina walk over, and Becky says to dejounte,. — your bounce pass? Youve got to hit pau exactly where he needs. We then talk some more as a group about how I need the ball a little more precise, with a little more zip, so i could have a better chance to finish the action at the rim. And then we repeat the drill a few times, alternating from the left and right sides of court. Of course, dejounte being Dejounte, he figures it out fast — and pretty soon were flying through.
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First, ive just gotta tell you: If youre making that argument to anyone whos actually played any high-level basketball, youre going to seem really ignorant. But i also have a simple response to it — which is that ive been in the nba for 17 years. Ive won two championships ive played with some of the best players of this generation and ive played under two of the sharpest minds in the history of sports, in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. And Im write telling you: Becky hammon can coach. Im not saying she can coach pretty well. Im not saying she can coach enough to get. Im not saying she can coach almost at the level of the nbas male coaches. Im saying: Becky hammon can coach nba basketball.
But like i said — im not here to make that argument. Arguing on coach Hammons behalf would feel patronizing. To me, it would be strange if nba teams were not interested in her as a head coach. Ronald Cortes/Getty Images, what I would like to do, though, is knock down a few of the silly arguments and talking points against coach Hammons candidacy — and the larger idea of a female nba head coach — that ive seen floating around. The argument that I see most often is thankfully the one thats easiest to disprove: favorite Its this idea that, at the absolute highest level of basketball, a woman isnt capable of coaching men. Yeah, female coaches are fine coaching womens college basketball, or the wnba, the argument goes. The nba is different.
the 72-year history of the league, there has never been a female head coach. Even more specifically, it makes me think of Becky hammon: a coach who has been the topic of much conversation lately, and who ive had the opportunity to play for in San Antonio. But if you think Im writing this to argue why becky is qualified to be an nba head coach well, youre mistaken. That part is obvious: One, she was an accomplished player — with an elite point guards mind for the game. And two, she has been a successful assistant for arguably the greatest coach in the game. What more do you need?
That wasnt weird, or a judgment in any direction. It was just the truth. And we never really thought twice about. Growing up, my brothers and i always admired this standard set by our parents. And now that Im an adult, and looking forward to being a parent in the near future myself, i realize even more how lucky i am to have been raised to that standard. Its a standard by which the only question worth asking — it isnt about if youre the right kind of person for your job. Rather, its about how well equipped you are for the job. In 37 years, i can honestly say, ive never once thought of my mom as a female doctor.
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I want to tell you a little something about my parents. I grew up just outside of Barcelona, a child of two highly successful professionals. My father was a nurse and my mother was a doctor. Naturally, i took to studying science — and after high school i even did one year of med school, before eventually devoting my time fully to basketball. I sometimes reviews think about what would have happened if I had stuck with medicine and followed in my parents footsteps. I remember how people would often mistake my father as the doctor and my mom as the nurse — it happened more often than it should have, in my mind. To me, that my mother was a successful doctor this was just the norm. And dont get me wrong: i admired my dads hard work and job as well. But I grew up knowing that my mom got into a more rigorous school and program, and thus she had the more prominent job.