Bulls coach Billy Donovan reacts to Spurs’ Becky Hammon making history

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Rob Schaefer
·2 min read
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Donovan: ‘Great to see’ Hammon get head coaching opportunity originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Billy Donovan has known Spurs assistant Becky Hammon for some time.

As a venerated basketball mind that’s progressed from Colorado State supernova, to 16-year WNBA star point guard, to Gregg Popovich’s bench, where she became the first woman to hold a full-time assistant coaching position in NBA history in 2014. As a one-time colleague of Donovan’s son, Billy Donovan III, who worked with San Antonio’s G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. And as a compatriot, having spent time with her at one edition of the NBA Coaches Meetings held in Chicago, at which Hammon represented the Spurs while Popovich coached the U.S. Olympic team.

So when Hammon made history as the first woman to act as the head coach of an NBA team following a Popovich ejection in the Spurs’ Dec. 30 121-107 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Donovan took note.

“I think it’s great,” the Bulls coach said. “Becky’s been there for a while, obviously I think she’s very trusted by Pop. My son was the Spurs’ G League team and he spoke very, very highly of Becky.

“Actually a couple years ago with the head coaches meeting here in Chicago we did some things on the court… I had a chance and opportunity to spend some time with her. Great person, obviously a terrific coach and it was great to see her get that opportunity.”

Hammon’s name has for years been thought of as a logical candidate to step into her own head coaching role, interim labels aside. She was reportedly on the Indiana Pacers’ interview list during their search this offseason, and interviewed with Milwaukee Bucks in 2018.

There's only 30 NBA jobs, it's hard to be a head coach in this league. I understand that and respect that,” Donovan said. “But certainly she’s going to be someone that is always going to be considered for a head coaching position.”

Should that one day come to fruition, Hammon will have more history in her future.

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