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Becky Hammon feeling right at home in first head-coaching role

Yaron WeitzmanFOX Sports
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She was still a full-time assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs — with whom she spent the past eight years — but was also laying the foundation for her new job as head coach of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, a move that was announced around the new year."It’s been nuts," Hammon said. "Especially on offense," she said, "I think it will look a lot different this year than they have in years past."The announcement that Hammon was taking the Aces’ job was met with a mix of reactions — and kick-started an entire take cycle. "I never thought she’d have the patience to teach," said Vicki Johnson, Hammon’s longtime teammate and current head coach of the WNBA's Dallas Wings.It’s not that Hammon wasn’t willing to do the work. It’s one of the reasons she was able to thrive, despite standing just 5-foot-6, and why she fit in so well with the veteran-laden New York Liberty team that signed her in 1999 and reached the Finals in three of Hammon’s first four seasons.It wasn’t until Hammon was traded to the San Antonio Silver Stars in 2007 that the seeds of her coaching career were planted. CLEARLY, Becky Hammon is on the verge of becoming the first woman to be an NBA head coach. And it takes women like Becky being out there."As the years went by and her role with the Spurs grew, Hammon set her sights on a head-coaching job. "Her energy and intelligence were — and are — off the charts."Over the next three years, Hammon interviewed for three more NBA head-coaching jobs. "When you get the call that they’re not going to go with you because they’re concerned that you don’t have any head-coaching experience," Hammon replied, "it’s like, ‘OK, but you knew that before we interviewed, right?’ So that’s a tell."Later in our conversation, she added, "Everybody says the right thing in front of the camera, but not everybody's about the right thing."The interviews boosted Hammon’s profile. Davis had bought the Aces earlier that year and was working to reconnect the team with its alumni.Davis decided soon after meeting Hammon that he wanted her to be his head coach. "They never said, 'You're not going to be the next head coach,'" Hammon told me. I said to him, just being very blunt, I was like, ‘I don't know if you're retiring or not retiring, but what I do know is these opportunities are too good for me to pass on.’" Hammon spent some time weighing her options and deciding how she wanted to spend the next few years of her life. But most importantly, "The Aces saw me as a head coach now," Hammon told me. Even as a coach, Hammon still looks like a player on the sideline.

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