Becky Hammon says she's thankful for chance to coach Spurs' summer league team in Las Vegas



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FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 file photo, San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon helps with team warmups prior to an NBA preseason basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks in San Antonio. Becky Hammon is about to become the first woman to serve as the head coach of an NBA summer league team. San Antonio announced Friday, July 3, 2015 that Hammon will lead the Spurs during summer league play in Las Vegas.(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)


Becky Hammon had known for some time that she was going to be coaching San Antonio's summer league team in Las Vegas.

When her phone blew up Friday, she knew the secret was out.

Hammon spoke out for the first time Saturday about the history-making move by the Spurs, who have given the former WNBA star player the chance to become the first woman who'll serve as a head coach in an NBA summer league. She'll lead San Antonio's entry in the Las Vegas league — the biggest of the three NBA summer showcases — starting next weekend.

"I'm still seeing what kind of head coach I'm going to be," Hammon told reporters in San Antonio, with the video of the interview posted to the team's web site.

She'll have a better idea of that in a couple weeks.

The Spurs will first play in a summer league at Utah starting Monday, when they'll be led by video coordinator Will Hardy. When they shift to Las Vegas for the league's biggest of its three summer showcases, Hammon — given the assignment by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who made her the NBA's first paid full-time female assistant coach before last season — will be in charge.

"I'm just thankful that Pop trusted me enough to give me this opportunity, because it is a big opportunity," Hammon said.

The Spurs will play at least five games in Las Vegas, starting on July 11. An All-Star in the WNBA, she played eight seasons each with the New York Liberty and San Antonio Stars and she was at times the sort of player who didn't mind jawing with officials.

Will that carry over into her role as coach?

"I was pretty fiery as a player," Hammon said. "I racked up a few (technicals) as a player. As a head coach you have less control, so I don't know if that means more T's or less T's. So we'll see."

Hammon said she equates coaching with teaching, and teaching seems especially important in the summer league — where most of the players don't have any NBA experience.

"It's funny because I've never really coached, but yet I've been coaching my whole career," Hammon said. "It's an interesting mix for me."

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