Fanhood Hoops 🏀🏀 - The Best Damn Basketball Newsletter In the World!!


🏀🏀 Featuring Becky Hammon, the first female assistant coach

Hey all, welcome back. Hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving break and had enough time to catch a few of the memorable games in the NBA last week.

For many of you, this is the first official issue you are receiving after hearing about us from Under Consideration, the popular blog that analyzes brands and visual identities

. They did a wonderful job recapping the Fanhood branding, and although the comments aren't all friendly hehe, we are so proud of being featured there. We hope you end up enjoying our content and community moving forward.

In our 11th issue of Fanhood, we dive deeper into Becky Hammon's controversial teaming up with Russia and how it eventually led to her becoming the NBA's first full-time, female, Assistant Coach.

Image source: @officialbeckyhammon (instagram)

But first, here are our 7 things worth sharing this week in the NBA: 

🏀 Through Nov. 22, games were averaging 1.45 million viewers across ESPN and TNT, down 18% from the same point last year (1.75 million)

🥶 After a poor start to the season, Utah Jazz's Mike Conley is still playing poorly. He averaged under 15ppg on 37% fg in November. View the discussion 

💬Cool quote from Michael Jordan recently: “I wish I had four Danny Ainge’s as teammates. With his desire and hustle, we’d never lose a game.”


Carmelo Anthony's 9-11 shooting against the Thunder (81.8%) last week is his most accurate shooting performance ever in a game with more than one FGA. He won the Western Conference's "Player of the Week" yesterday.


"The league has stopped promoting the game" - Great article by Michael Lee at The Athletic

🦌 The Bucks are 18-3 and have won 12 in a row. Giannis looks to be the clear favorite for an MVP repeat winner.

Becky Hammon breaking ground from the sidelines.

The former player to NBA coach trajectory is tried and tested, with some of the most legendary head coaches like Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, and Doc Rivers being former NBA players.

But San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon opened up a whole new trajectory as a former WNBA player joining an NBA coaching staff.  In fact, Hammon became the first full-time female assistant coach when she was hired to join Gregg Popovich’s staff in 2014. Since her hire, seven women have become assistant coaches in the NBA, and in Hammon’s six years with the Spurs, she has been linked with NBA Head Coaching jobs. But what separates Hammon from these other female coaches is that this Spurs gig was her first job directly after retiring from the game. A storied career highlighted by her against-all-odds journey and also controverisal decision making.


Hammon’s storied career

Hammon had a notable playing career filled with ups and downs to go along with her groundbreaking coaching career.  At the outset of her 15-year professional career, she went undrafted in the WNBA and was signed by the New York Liberty as an undrafted rookie. She took several seasons to establish herself as a starter, but Hammon later became a six-time All-Star and one of the WNBA’s top players. She averaged 13ppg on 38% from 3pt land, with her best season coming in 2007 with San Antonio, when she averaged 18.8ppg and 40% from 3pt.

Like many WNBA players past and present, Hammon had to play overseas during the WNBA offseason in order to compensate for the low salary in the WNBA. Median salaries in the WNBA are around $71,635, and starting salaries are $50,000, while players in the Euro League start at $100,000.

Hammon played for multiple Spanish and Russian teams, and during her time overseas, Hammon made the controversial decision to take up Russian citizenship in order to play in the Olympics.  Some critics pointed out that her salary with CSKA Moscow tripled after she became Russian, but she insists her only motivation was to play on the Olympic stage after not being selected for the American team.

The controversy blew up so much thanks to Team USA coach Anne Donovan calling Hammon a traitor for choosing to play for Russia. Of course, Hammon was far from the first American athlete to gain another citizenship in order to play for another country, and she hasn’t been the last (here we’re reminded of Andray Blatche’s recurring appearances for the Philippines national team).

Hammon took offense to Donovan’s comments and clarified, “I think it's the fact that it's Russia, if I played for a small country that nobody had ever heard of, it would be different."

Catching Popovich

Hammon’s Russia won the bronze medal in 2008 after losing to the Americans in the semifinals, and she appeared at the 2012 Olympics as well. The toll of playing overseas and the WNBA eventually caught up to Hammon, and she tore her ACL in 2013.  While she recovered and played one more season for the San Antonio Stars, the recovery time gave her the opportunity to attend Spurs practices and give advice to players and coaching staff.

Coach Pop was so impressed with her during her time with the Spurs, that when Hammon called it quits on her playing career, he offered her a position on his staff.  While the Spurs have been in decline after Tim Duncan’s retirement and Kawhi Leonard’s departure, Hammon has garnered plenty of respect in the NBA community from players, coaches, and analysts.

And while some will surely be surprised by the first female NBA Head Coach, with her current career trajectory it won’t be surprising at all if Becky Hammon claims that title. 

Further reading/viewing: 

2008 ESPN story on Hammon’s choice to play for Russia

How far can Becky Hammon go? (The New Yorker)

Complex’s best and worst NBA players turned coaches

Becky Hammon mic’d up on the sidelines

Blatche playing for the Philippines

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