Spurs' Hammon makes NBA history as first woman to lead team

RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT

VIDEO SHOWS: COMMENTS FROM SAN ANTONIO SPURS ASSISTANT COACH BECKY HAMMON WHO MADE HISTORY BY BECOMING THE FIRST WOMAN TO TAKE CHARGE OF AN NBA TEAM, COMMENT FROM LOS ANGELES LAKERS FORWARD, LEBRON JAMES, STILL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE GAME BETWEEN SAN ANTONIO SPURS AND LOS ANGELES LAKERS

SHOWS:

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, UNITED STATES (DECEMBER 30, 2020) (NBA - Broadcasters: MUST COURTESY NBA ENTERTAINMENT. NO RESALE. NO ARCHIVE. Digital: NO DIGITAL USE OUTSIDE USA AND CANADA. NO RESALE. NO ARCHIVE)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SAN ANTONIO SPURS ASSISTANT COACH, BECKY HAMMON, SAYING:

"Obviously I mean, It's a big deal, it's a substantial moment. I have been a part of this organisation, I got traded here in 2007 so I have been in San Antonio part of the Spurs and sports organisation with the stars and everything for 13 years. So, I have a lot of time invested and they have a lot of time invested in me, in building me and getting me better. 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 get overwhelming. It's my job to go in there and be focused for those guys and make sure that I am helping them do the things that will help us win. I really have not had time to reflect, I have not looked at my phone so I have no idea what's going on outside of AT&T Center tonight."

2. WHITE FLASH

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SAN ANTONIO SPURS ASSISTANT COACH, BECKY HAMMON, SAYING:

"It was business as usual. They (San Antonio Spurs players) are used to hearing my voice in practice. In practice, (San Antonio Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich) Pop will put us in two teams and we each have a team. So, they are kind of used to hearing me out there, seeing me draw a play on the board or whatnot and I think in all this I think everyone in their mind, how does this look, how is this going to work, how are these guys going to listen, the guys are great, the guys are really a non-issue. Their attitudes and their approach is always great with me and really all across the league, you know from, you can go on any team and I think they are almost hyper aware of it, and so they're just, they give me great eye contact, they give me great focus, they give me great energy and I want to just make sure I give that all back to them. But it's.. I don't know, I did not walk into the arena thinking I would be coaching, you know, tonight but that's the way things go and you roll with it and I would have liked a different outcome. Overall I would have loved to get a win tonight more than anything."

4. WHITE FLASH

5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SAN ANTONIO SPURS ASSISTANT COACH, BECKY HAMMON, SAYING:

"We just roll with the punches. When (San Antonio Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich) Pop gives us an order we go with it and we all group together, (assistant coaches) Will Hardy, Mitch Johnson, 'What can we do to help?', you know, and it was all about just what can we do to help win and everybody just gets on board and it was a great team effort, and they are in my ear giving me suggestions and helping with substitutions and whatnot. When Pop gets tossed, we all come together and become kind of another team."

REPORTER, ASKING: "What did Pop say when he got tossed and how did you find that it was officially going to be you?"

"He officially pointed at me. That was it (REPORTER LAUGHING)."

REPORTER, ASKING: "And that was it?"

"That was it. Said 'You got 'em'. That was it. Very Pop like, see. You guys don't get treated any differently to what we do."

6. WHITE FLASH

7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LOS ANGELES LAKERS FORWARD, LEBRON JAMES, SAYING:

"She's been putting in the work, and any time you put in the work then you get rewarded with opportunities. And obviously she's been paying her dues over the last few years and coach Pop has given her an opportunity to first of all be the coach of the Summer League team where she got going with that and now be a head coach if anything ever happened to Pop. Tonight was a case where she got to step in and show her worth and show her talents and show her love for the game. Obviously, what she did as a player, first of all, we all know that and so in her mind she was able to transfer over to our league, and she's been great ever since she got in. It's a beautiful thing just to hear her barking out calls, barking out sets, and she's very passionate about the game, so congrats to her and congrats to our league."

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, UNITED STATES (DECEMBER 30, 2020) (USA TODAY SPORTS - MUST COURTESY USA TODAY SPORTS) (MUTE)

8. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF SAN ANTONIO SPURS ASSISTANT COACH BECKY HAMMON QUESTIONING A CALL FROM OFFICIAL DEREK RICHARDSON (NUMBER 63) IN THE THIRD QUARTER AGAINST THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS

9. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF LOS ANGELES LAKERS' LEBRON JAMES (RIGHT) AND SAN ANTONIO SPURS HEAD COACH, GREGG POPOVICH GREETING EACH OTHER BEFORE THE GAME

10. STILL PHOTOGRAPH LOS ANGELES LAKERS FORWARD KYLE KUZMA (NUMBER 0) SHOOTS OVER SAN ANTONIO SPURS FORWARD DREW EUBANKS (NUMBER 14) IN THE SECOND QUARTER

11. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF JAMES DRIVING TO THE BASKET AGAINST SAN ANTONIO SPURS GUARDS PATTY MILLS (NUMBER 8) AND DEJOUNTE MURRAY (NUMBER 5) IN THE THIRD QUARTER

12. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF JAMES SHOOTING OVER SAN ANTONIO SPURS FORWARD RUDY GAY (NUMBER 22) IN THE FOURTH QUARTER

STORY: San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon made history on Wednesday (December 30), becoming the first woman to take charge of an NBA team when she took over after head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected.

Popovich received two technical fouls with 3:56 left in the second quarter of the Spurs' eventual 121-107 defeat to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.

"I did not walk into the arena thinking I would be coaching tonight, but that's the way things go and you roll with it, and I would have liked a different outcome," Hammon said. "Overall, I would have loved to get a win tonight more than anything.

Hammon did not know she would be put in charge if Popovich were to be ejected from a game. How did she find out?

"He officially pointed at me," Hammon said. "That was it. He said, 'You got 'em.' That was it. Very Pop-like."

San Antonio trailed by 11 points at the time Popovich was tossed.

"We all group together, (assistant coaches) Will Hardy, Mitch Johnson, 'What can we do to help?' " Hammon said. "It was all about what can we do to help win. ... It was a great team effort, and they are in my ear giving me suggestions and helping with substitutions and whatnot. When Pop gets tossed, we all come together and become kind of another team."

Hammon, 43, has been an assistant coach for the Spurs since August 2014, the first woman to be paid for that job in an official, full-time capacity. She had a 16-year playing career in the WNBA, 1999-2006 with the New York Liberty and 2007-14 with the San Antonio Stars, the latter team owned by the Spurs.

"Obviously it's a big deal, a substantial moment," Hammon said of leading the Spurs on Wednesday. "I've been a part of this organization. I got traded here in 2007, so I've been in San Antonio and part of the Spurs ... organization with the Stars and everything for 13 years. So I have a lot of time invested, and they have a lot of time invested in me in building me and getting me better."

LA Lakers' forward LeBron James said: "It's a beautiful thing just to hear her barking out calls, barking out sets, and she's very passionate about the game, so congrats to her and congrats to our league."

(Production: Tim Hart, Annette Faydenko)