"People don't like doing something new and different. It's uncomfortable. It takes massive amount of risk," Becky Hammon said

By Nicholas Rice
April 29, 2021 02:10 PM
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becky Hammon
Credit: TODAY show/Twitter

Becky Hammon is more ready than ever to become the head coach of an NBA team.

On Thursday, the Today show aired a preview of NBC's upcoming Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List special, for which the 44-year-old professional basketball coach will chat with Hoda Kotb about her career aspirations.

Back in December, Hammon — who serves as the Spurs assistant coach — became the first woman to coach an NBA team after San Antonio head coach, Gregg Popovich, was ejected from the team's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

When asked if she believes it is "past time" that the NBA has a female head coach, Hammon confirmed to Kotb, 56, she thinks is long overdue. "Of course," she said. "I mean, this ball is never moving fast enough, in my opinion."

"People don't like doing something new and different. It's uncomfortable. It takes massive amount of risk," she added. "Somebody's going to have to take a chance."

During the December game, Hammon — who became the first full-time, paid female assistant on an NBA coaching staff in 2014 — took over in the second quarter of the game after Popovich, 72, was ejected for yelling at an official and going onto the court to protest a non-call.

Following her team's 121-107 loss to the Lakers, Hammon acknowledged that her role in the game was "a big deal and a substantial moment," but one that took a backseat to her primary focus: winning.

"Honestly, in the moment, I was just trying to win the game. I say this a lot but I try not to think about the huge picture and the huge aspect of it because it can be overwhelming," Hammon told reporters in a video posted to the WNBA Twitter feed. "It's my job to go in there and be focused for those guys and make sure that I'm helping them do the things that will make us win."

She continued: "I really have had no time to reflect. I haven't looked at my phone. So, I have no idea what's going on outside of AT&T Center tonight."

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Speaking to PEOPLE about her career and achievements in a November interview, Hammon said breaking barriers is not something she takes lightly.

"It's a torch that I carry very seriously," she told PEOPLE. "It's something that I value and I know the weight of the responsibility ... I know I got a lot of little eyes on me. I never take it lightly. And that's why the mountains and the challenges in front of me are just even that much greater."

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While chatting with Kotb on Today, Hammon also noted that she has no idea when the opportunity for a woman to lead an NBA team as coach will come, but should she be the one selected first, she will be "ready" for the moment.

"In some ways, I feel like it could be in a year," she said. "In other ways, it could be 10 years. I'm not really sure. What I'm sure of is, I'll be ready."

Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List airs at 8 p.m. EST on Saturday.