The Feminist Enlightenment of Giant Jocks

In the macho realm of men’s professional basketball, a woman blazes the ultimate trail.


Comments: 139

  1. The San Antonio spurs ( under Poppovich ) have been a model of an organization for the entire NBA for quite some time, It was only natural that they would have picked ( first ) the best coach for the job they had an opening for , regardless if they were female or male.

    Having said that, I wish her all of the best of luck in all of her future endeavors. It is only a matter of time before there are no glass ceilings anywhere, whether that be for a coach for one of the 4 major sports, or for the position of President of the United States.

    The only question is how are going to collectively react when it does happen, and whether we will all be gentlemen about it ?

    I say aye, we will.

  2. One guesses that many of "us" will be ladies about it.

  3. All, I doubt it, there are too many neanderthals out there, but, given time and success, even they may come around.

  4. Great idea but Hammon for President only demands a change in attitudes; Gasol would require amending the Constitution.

  5. So many sports, not only basketball, are seen as the purview of men. Female soccer and tennis players, for instance, have largely been treated as an afterthought to their male counterparts, and paid accordingly.
    Whether Ms. Hammon will ultimately thrive as a coach remains to be seen. But if she can chip at the assumption that athleticism equates with testosterone, she will be a champion in her own right.

  6. The reason that women in sports are generally paid less is because they draw in less viewers. More viewers equals more money, so obviously men’s sports, which draws more viewers, will make more money. It draws more not because of sexism, but because generally men are stronger and faster, making for more entertaining sports. Look at Ronda Rousey, she makes a lot of money, definitely more than certain male fighters, and it’s because she draws people to watch her

  7. Good for her. I was the scorekeeper for the men's basketball team when I was in middle school. The guys were in highschool but they were respectful because their coach demanded it. As long as I was accurate they could care less about my gender. Athletes respect fellow athletes and Ms Hammon has proven herself in the trenches. There might be a few men who dismiss her because of her gender but most of them won't care as long as she delivers.

  8. Don't think much about professional sports these days. I was a Knicks fan in the early 70's and a Brooklyn Dodgers fan before that.

    A Woman head coach?????????? But, there are more than a few that can become great political leaders. I have no problem voting for a woman President or seeing a woman: Medical Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant, et al.

  9. This is nice to see. The New Yorker had a wonderful profile of Becky Hammon a few weeks ago which I found very inspiring. Nice to also read your support of her! I am not a basketball fan but I gather that it will take much work, effort and change for her to finally get a head coach job and be embraced wholly. But it's great to see her moving in that direction and her attitude about it all, too. It doesn't always have to be about men vs women and sometimes just about who is the best for what the position is. I'd rather it be more like that vs the former.
    Thanks, Frank!

  10. Let’s celebrate a woman coaching a bunch of 7 foot men shoving a ball through a hoop.
    Maybe we should celebrate a woman - or a man - when he or she develops a miracle drug, donates most of their money to charity, helps the homeless, or invents environmentally sensitive technology.
    Seems were setting our sights a bit low.

  11. Remember Jackie Robinson ? Cultural symbolism can be very powerful.

  12. Gertrude B. Elion developed the first immunosuppressant, which helped make organ transplants possible.

    Lyda Hill is a major philanthropist.

    Wangari Maathai won a Nobel Prize for her work starting the Green Belt Movement.

    Just to start the list of people to celebrate.

  13. Here we have a story about a woman for the first time being considered for the most visible and demanding managerial position in a multi-billion dollar industry, and you dismiss it as having little value. Like it or not, men's professional sports have a big influence on culture. If people see that women are accepted as leaders by players in an overwhelmingly male-dominated enterprise, that will have value that extends well beyond the realm of basketball. It would help clear the path for other women to succeed by setting an example that helps people overcome their biases about what women can and cannot do.

    You refer to yourself as a cynic. Try being a skeptic instead. The difference is that a cynic rejects new ideas without giving them much consideration based on their biases while a skeptic starts with an open mind and forms opinions based on consideration of evidence and all points of view.

  14. It can and will work. The right players will have to be involved…but think of all the great NBA players who were raised by single mothers or have daughters. LeBron James for one. They will show respect. The most important thing in getting the players’ respect will be the perception that she has earned the opportunity and is not getting it just because she’s a woman.

  15. yeah, as opposed to all retread nba men coaches who just got the job because they were former nba coaches and not because they had earned the opportunity! I was in the profession and can you the dogs that repeatedly got hired despite being demonstrably horrible coaches

  16. “We have to free half of the human race, the women, so that they can help to free the other half.”
    --- Emmeline Pankhurst, suffragette

    Go, Becky, go !

  17. Women hold up half the sky! Wonder who said that!?

  18. White women suffragettes did not care for nor speak to nor for the rights of black women voting particularly in the South.

    Becky Hammons is no Cheryl Miller.

  19. Gotta love Frank Bruni. He couldn’t name more than 3 NBA coaches correctly paired with their current team.

  20. In assessing this story, most people want to take about glass ceilings. But Ms. Hammons' success has more to do with parquet floors.

    There are two main types of head coaches in the NBA. Those who have proved themselves either as assistants or college coaches and those who were great students of the game as players. Ms. Hammon was a point guard and played a good deal in Europe. She also has a couple of years coaching with the Spurs, which is not much. So she is mostly in the nature of an extraordinary player, like Jason Kidd.

    I follow this stuff pretty close, but I don't know if Ms. Hammon is one of those few extraordinary players who can step into a head coaching job without much assistant coaching experience. Winning the summer league is meaningless. Trust me. If they're looking at her seriously she is among the most knowledgeable basketball people out there.

    A quick look at the Bucks. They have a point guard who may soon be the best player in basketball. Their former coach is expected to be voted coach of the year for this year. The day after the playoffs he was fired.

    The hiring of Becky Hammons for the Bucks is all about the Bucks and why they got rid of Casey. I can't answer that, but i do know that the Bucks are at a transition point and are looking for a coach that will ride their point guard and take them to the top of the East. If Hammons is the guy, you can be pretty sure she'll be hired. If not, it's back to the Spurs for more seasoning.

  21. Got my teams mixed up.

  22. It was the Toronto Raptors who fired Dwane Casey, not the Bucks.

  23. Becky Hammons is not a guy.

  24. I hope Mr Bruni knows the Indiana Pacers had Ann Meyers (wife of Don Drysdale) in training camp as a player in the 1980’s. Many people at the Times and Sports Illustrated wrote at the time that it wasn’t just a publicity stunt. They literally thought she was as good as the last players on the bench of an NBA team. Today, every Pacer executive admits it was a100% publicity stunt and she couldn’t possibly be a contributor on the court in the NBA. Today’s story is simply a continuation of the same stunt and gullible people like Mr Bruni can’t see through it. Makes one think of PT Barnum.

  25. Perhaps you think Coach Popovich has had Ms. Hammond as a coach for several years as some kind of stunt. If so, you do not know much about Pop.

  26. Shamrock,
    Maybe this feels to you like a publicity stunt. But at some point, a woman will come along who
    - does a terrific job
    - is lauded for her results (on their own merits, not in comparison to men)
    - and leaves people asking why this took so long.
    Maybe that woman will be Ms. Hammon. And maybe not (but I wouldn't bet against her). But rest assured it will be someone.

  27. Our society continues to learn, through #MeToo and now the N.B.A., the wisdom of George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans): "It is never too late to be what you might have been."

  28. It's hard for me to see this as a milestone in equality -- yes, perhaps now a woman can earn an idiotic amount of money telling another group of people paid an obscene amount of money to play catch and generate random numbers in realtime!

    Professional sports is a joke in this country -- asking young men to destroy their bodies for the benefit of people who lack a better idea, principle or unifying concept in their lives other than "GO TEAM!" A woman coaching pro basketball isn't a blow for a better tomorrow; having a pro sports team say they refuse to pay their players more than a first-year cop or nurse in the same city would be far, far more interesting.

    Pro sports is a sewer of money and corruption and macho tribal nonsense. Getting excited on behalf of the first woman who gets to then dive in and splash around in that filth is not exactly wise or clever.

  29. More power to Ms. Hammon, but I would go slow before pronouncing this a breakthrough.

    Midget wrestlers once were in vogue on the American pro wrestling scene, but then ....

  30. I'm sure Becky will appreciate the comparison.

  31. Although I know and care nothing for the commercialized professional sports, I fully support the social equality of women and men.
    However, there are certain activities where the anatomical and physiological differences between the two genders undoubtedly play an important role. A woman President of the US is the Commander-in-Chief, and the West European women Ministers of War or Defense, all of whom should have an image of a warrior in an hour of need.
    The people should be able to visualize their Commander-in-Chief on horseback, with a drawn sword, leading at a gallop a bayonet charge, drum beating, trumpet blaring, and canon spewing hot iron balls. Alas, I cannot think of a single woman politician who meets these criteria.

  32. You haven't met enough women.

  33. Joan of Arc?

    Catherine the Great?

    (Diana of Themyscira?)

  34. These were the criticisms raised against Queen Elizabeth (I) leading England. That seemed to have worked out fine (you can ask the Spanish armada about it).

  35. let's not forget the sacramento kings- they have had nancy lieberman as an assistant coach, an currently have jenny boucek on the coaching staff.

  36. Four words stand out in this column: "gutsy, ebullient basketball wiz." Given that the Bucks haven't had a truly inspiring coach since Don Nelson over thirty years ago, if Ms. Hammon truly lives up to these four words, the Bucks by all means should hire her.

    Let everyone else wring their hands about whether the NBA, Wisconsin, or the Bucks are ready for a woman coach. As long as she can win games and inspire fans to get excited about the Bucks for reasons beside their new arena, who cares about the rest? We're ready for Coach Hammon if she's ready for us.

  37. Becky Hammon is a tactical wiz. She knows the game, how to set up defenses and attacks, which players should be used for what tasks, and the mechanics of shooting.

    She may not be able to post up against some NBA centers,but she knows how her players should.

    Since most of the NBA players are pretty equal in skills, that iswhere the difference is between winning and losing.

  38. So basically, you’re saying she has the knowledge of your average casual fan? This description could not be more generic.

  39. Becky Hammon is one of a long line of women in all fields whose skills are seen as heroic rather than standard, when standard is sufficient for positions on the sidelines or in the boardrooms. If hired, will her salary be commiserate with other coaches? Will she hire her own assistants? How many will label such a hire as political correctness—the-one-side-fits-all shorthand smear so outrageous it smothers a response. Political correctness is simply another flop after at the end of a successful hard drive. It is a distraction, a deflection, a fake movement when skill is insufficient.

    Of course, the question becomes how male players will react—not whether she can coach, run substitution patterns successfully. Something called team chemistry will be cited as suddenly being important; million dollar athletes will have to fill good about her role as a woman—not her skills as a coach.

    Maybe it's time the country engaged in some wind sprints to refocus on what matters. In a country where being grossly unqualified doesn't disable our national leader, who is crude, has called athletes and countries ugly expletives, and clearly has no strategy for any quarter, isn't it time to stop ignoring anything other than qualifications and real track records? Besides, nobody will ever spank Becky and tell the nation on television!

  40. Congratulations, you resort to name calling of Trump in response to a story that has absolutely nothing to do with him.

  41. NB: Becky was not drafted in 1999 because the ABL folded, and all of its players were drafted into the WNBA as rookies. In a normal year, she surely would have been drafted in the first round.

    More importantly, the real celebration will be when the WNBA gets as much attention as the NBA, and the women of the NCAA the same as the men -- starting with coverage in the Sports section of the NY Times. Perhaps if you had covered the New York Liberty with any regularity beyond a box score, they would still be playing at the Garden, and people would be less likely to question Becky's (or any potential coach's) readiness for any league.

  42. The WNBA gets less attention because the players are nasty inferior to the NBA. How is this not just blindingly obvious? You might as well complain that your high school team doesn’t get as much attention.

  43. There's more to it than simply giving attention to the WNBA. The reason for such lackluster attendance and viewership statistics is not because people aren't aware of the games, but rather because they are much less exciting than the NBA's games. As someone who goes to a D1 school with a renowned men's basketball program, I can confirm it is the same at the college level. The only exciting women's team to watch is UConn, and even then, it's only because of the extreme lopsidedness of the games.

  44. Hammon for president. That should go over great with the Imams.

    I wish Hammon the best of fortune, although she seems pretty adept at making her own fortune without help from others; but president? Frank has let his enthusiasm rule him. Maybe she can just stick with winning games and enlightening giant jocks; and leave Putin to Trump – or even to Hillary.

  45. Mr. Luettgen,
    You can be such a killjoy at times and just when I was going to place a call to Jerusalem. It is doubtful that Putin needs to be enlightened when it comes to Trump, and Hillary towers above him.

  46. "Winning games and enlightening jocks" is exactly what a president should be good at, Mr. Luettgen.

    Think about it.

  47. Richard, you are a perfect illustration of Conservatives having NO sense of humor. Just saying.

  48. My wife and I have always noted that it seems the players best suited to transition to coaching are not the stars. Maybe it comes from watching the game as an extremely knowledgeable observer as opposed to being in the heat of the action, but back up QBs seem to make better coaches than stars. Ms.Hammond has had to study the game twice as hard to get half the recognition. Hire her please!

  49. "It’s entirely possible that before we see a woman as the American president, we’ll see a woman as the head coach of a team in one of the four men’s major professional sports."

    I do share the pessimism that you seem to express. but to a slightly lesser degree. Remember that HRC got 3 million votes more than DJT and that but for the illogical Electoral College system and less than 10,000 votes in three states she would have been the POTUS.

    But enough about HRC and politics. The growth of Becky Hammon is a beautiful story in of itself. She definitely has shown that it is the size of heart and brain that matters as much, if not more, than the size of one's body. One can win by brute force but she has shown how to win with finesses.

    I wish her the very best and hope that the NBA will pave the way for more women to come in as coaches. But let us not forget to applaud Coach Popovich for recognizing and promoting the talented Becky Hammon.

  50. By far the greatest beneficiaries of the black African American led blood, sweat and tears shed in the civil rights movement have been white women.

    Hillary lost under a Constitution that does not care about nor count votes outside of the state where they are cast.

  51. The popular vote has never been used to elect the President of the U.S so is really irrelevant in any discussion pertaining to Presidential elections. The U.S. President is elected by electors in each state. This "illogical" system ensures that each state is fairly represented in national elections. All you have to do is look at the map on election night to see the "blue" in each of the large urban areas (NY, DC, LA, PHL, etc..) and the "red" everywhere else to understand the wisdom in the electoral college. Trump won more than 80% of all counties in the U.S.

  52. Most great coaches were not necessarily great players. Often the great ones do not make good coaches. The halls are littered with super stars that flamed out coaching. On the contrary, when you look at coaches like Brad Stevens and what he is doing with the Celtics. He had a good, but not great, college career at a small school.

    I see no reason whatsoever why a woman would not be able to coach a man's team. Kudos to Popovich for supporting her and giving her a shot.

  53. And kudos to Becky Harmmon for meeting the challenged with strength, intelligence, and heart. I wish her continued success. There are a lot of little girls who love basketball and will be inspired by her example.

  54. The best at anything make terrible coaches, teachers and bosses. To them it is easy and intuitive. To the rest of us, we have to think, make mistakes and learn. Those with unique talent can't empathize with the journey.

  55. This is absolutely true. I am a retired mathematics professor who worked at three major universities. The worst teachers at all three of these institutions were the most respected and revered research mathematicians - they were almost impossible to understand and had by far the lowest student evaluations.

  56. While it’s nice to see her success and she sounds like an amazing person, I’m not looking forward to the inane jabbering at this website and others about how if she does not get hired, it’s sexism. Or is she does and isn’t handed a championship by all the others teams, it’s sexism. Are there still women out there who want to earn success without an asterisk?

  57. Obviously, Hammon does. Among others.

  58. Anyone who ever watched Becky Hammon play realized that even on the WNBA/European league level, her talent was modest compared to that of many of the other stars. But, like comparable NBA players (John Stockton, Mark Price, and Mark Jackson, point guards all, come to mind), she made up for that with drive, hustle, and court smarts.

    And yes, it is often the less talented, harder working ex-players who make the best coaches; their sport IQ's simply have to be higher for them to succeed among the preternaturally gifted.

    I suspect she'll make an excellent head coach, wherever she lands.

  59. You have to be careful here.

    Discrimination, harassment against women has been outlawed since app. 1980.

    Since then countless women have filed grievances, sued etc. and won.

    In just about all fields, it is common to see women. They have proven to be just as good (and also just as bad) as men.

    What you don't want to do is social engineer ie since I am a woman I want 50% of every job whether I deserve it or not.

    If a woman wants to be a professional coach, good. Lobby, apply for the job, make sure she is qualified and if she doesn't get it over a less qualified man, sue but don't sit there and say since I am a woman I deserve 50% of everything.

    Same thing for President. Hillary made the fatal blunder of running as an identity obsessed woman instead of an American. Obama ran as an American and not as a black.

    He served two terms and she was related to the dust of history and indirectly help elect an ego maniac, pathological liar demagogue.

  60. "They have proven to be just as good (and also just as bad) as men." They have proven in many cases to be better than men.

    "What you don't want to do is social engineer ie since I am a woman I want 50% of every job whether I deserve it or not." Why can't women have 100% of every job whether they deserve it or not, just like men have had for hundreds of years?

    No one has said that women "deserve 50% of everything." Women deserve what they are qualified for and what they have earned through their talent and hard work; that is not the present situation, and, if you don't understand that, you need to open your eyes.

  61. Well since Hillary wasn't remotely identity obsessed it seems that perspective was coming from inside your own head.

    Hillary will also become History one day but not in the way you envision. As the first women to win the popular vote in a presidential election her name will be up there with some of our greatest leaders.

    It will also be noted the only reason she didn't win the electoral college as well was because of Russian interference and voters like yourself. If you don't like our current president thank yourself the next time you look in the mirror.

  62. "...make sure she is qualified..." made me laugh. We have a completely unqualified Commander-in-Chief who appoints a bunch of wannabes. Women have forever been brainwashed that when they jump through enough hoops, earn the right credentials, and get the right experience, THEN they will be qualified. Under the old affirmative action rules, 100 percent white men had all of the best options. While that may no longer be true, the feelings of superiority reign, as your comments indicate. Women will get what they fight for and negotiate, not what they "deserve" in your eyes. And, yeah, that means they need to have 50 percent of the Supreme Court, the Senate, and the House.

  63. Well, for the NBA to be truly fair about 50% of the head coaches should be female, and about 80% of the players should be white. Right?

  64. More than half a century ago, my team played on half the court. Two dribbles max before we either shot or passed the ball. And other nonsense. Because we were girls.

    So here we are. Having a conversation about whether or not a woman might coach a man's team as well as a man.

    Man's fear of woman. It will never change.

  65. The best coaches in all of the "big four" mens games are not the stars (who must be dedicated to themselves, as well as the team), but the bench players who can sit back and analyze, learn and more importantly teach others what they have learned. Bruce Bochy of the SF Giants is the perfect embodiment of this. There is absolutely no reason, other than sexism and lack of opportunity for women, that this hasn't happened before.

  66. 'Coach', my husband used to call me in the same way his pet name for our Himalayan orphaned fur ball was 'Rambo', followed by a laugh on his part and my pointing out that he was laughing at his own jokes again.

    When Wilt Chamberlain came to visit the global humanitarian agency where I worked in the division of public relations, for some reason I got hauled into the meeting, most likely to take notes, and sat next to this gentle giant, noting that he had a regal presence.

    A leg-up to Ms. Becky Hammon for leading the San Antonio Spurs to a Championship Season, and now on to the Milwaukee Bucks. When We unite and get Our Nation out of The Trump Ditch, America will be beautiful again if to quote T.S. Eliot, We do not give in to 'the final addition, the failing pride or resentment at failing powers in a drifting boat with slow linkage'.

  67. It's been fascinating and more than a little disturbing watching the trolls appear on this and the local Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel comment sections reacting to her interview.

  68. Wish Ms. Hammond the best of luck. When blacks first broke into baseball, there was the saying that they had to be twice as good as the whites. I suspect that may be true about women head coaches. I know the Bucks (and others) could use a decent coach to organize a team with talent that plays only OK.

  69. What an irrelevant piece, because sports is just another false idol that Americans can't live without. Those whose lives are centered on professional sports are perhaps athletically gifted but mainly in it for the money. I turned my back on all of this "pageantry" decades ago with supreme indifference and suspect that I was alone in this.

  70. Absolutely. I hope she gets the chance, if that’s what she wants.

  71. As Veep, Gasol can reach the high shelves in the oval office for her; and kill spiders. Those are two areas where men need not fear their dominance will ever be broken. As for the rest, I think it is important to not be upset if the majority of NBA coaches remain men, the majority of nurses remain women, and the majority of engineers remain men, because there is going to be some predisposition for certain jobs among the sexes. As long as there is a healthy competition where the most capable get hired, merit is the chief criterion, and everybody's workplace is non-threatening, we will be in a good place. It's about equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. I have no doubt that a woman can coach an NBA team -- who would have more experience dealing with massive male egos than a woman? -- I hope Hammon does well.

  72. I coached girls and boys basketball. Knowing the game is a must. But half of coaching is your people skills. The best boy player I ever coached was more than difficult. One time I took him out of the game and he tried to take a swing at me. If the biggest kid on the team hadn’t defended me, i’d probably have gone to the ground. All my players were black and I am white. That added to the tension

    The best girl I ever coached was a Canadian who knew the game. I’d call a time out and she’d come over and start talking about the problem that I called the time out to solve. She happened to be one of the most attractive 18 year olds I ever knew. I could have done without that.

    Anyway, coaching requires you to deal with people issues. Sometimes you don’t know how you’re doing. If the chemistry isn’t there nothing else matters. And coaching the opposite gender creates problems.

    There are 30 NBA coaches and thousands of wannabes. Maybe Ms. Hammon has what it takes, maybe not. But keep in mind that the job is for the elite of the elite, that her gender can work for or against her and the odds are very much against her just as they are against any judge, however capable, of being appointed to the Supreme Court.

  73. A thinking persons player, it is no surprise that Ms. Hammons gravitated to coaching. Her hard work and intensity will carry her to a head coaching position someday soon. USA Basketball would do well to consider her for the Head job with the Men’s team. Dream Team 2!

  74. There are two photos with this article. In one, Ms. Hammon is dribbling past an opposing player, whom she presumably outsmarts. In the other, she's making a big grin at a player she'll be coaching.

    In both photos, those players, whom she's outsmarting and/or will be bossing, are Black.

    Aren't we just looking at more white privilege?

  75. On the other hand, Joe, if you look at who's playing basketball today -- and winning -- mightn't one also says, "Black privilege?"

  76. I don't believe this comment is made in good faith, so I will not engage with your argument, such as it is. You heard about privilege and failed to understand it, given that you think her dribbling past a black player is "privilege." The rhetoric of racism and sexism is not a club for whiny men to use against white women, and your bad faith is underlined by your failure to mention the overrepresentation of white men in the coaching/managing echelon of pro sports in general.

  77. 2nd best feel good/ground break sports story of the year. The best is of course, the LV franchise in the NHL 3 wins from he Stanley Cup Finals. This is a close second. Best of luck to her and I hope she gets the Bucks job. Let's face it, an NBA coaching job is contract management. No yelling, no screaming, no thought control is necessary as is so digustingly displayed in the modern day plantation system, aka, big time college sports. These are the best athletes in the world and know what to do. She just needs to get the best 5 on the court at the right time.

  78. I have never attended a Milwaukee Bucs game but if Becky Harmon becomes their coach, we are taking a road trip.

  79. This isn't high on my list of burning issues. "Enlightenment" isn't the right word. Try "trivial."

  80. Of course it's trivial for you, Mr. Henry. You're that kind of guy.

  81. It's clear this writer doesn't watch basketball religiously, and just wrote this because he read some headline about a woman being interviewed for a HC job to make some social statement. Will she get the job? Most likely, no. There's a lot of experienced coaching candidates who hit the market this year, and many more who've been sitting on the sidelines waiting to get in. Much like the Rooney rule in the NFL, Hammon getting an interview is a nod to creating a more diverse coaching pool. This will help build interview experience for her to land a HC job in the near-to-immediate future. I've listened to Hammon talk in interviews, and she clearly knows her stuff, has a very adept understanding of the men's game. Not only that, but she is especially young to be an established name in the men's HC vacancy discussion. Pop planned on retiring when TD retired. Maybe her current locale should give her a shot to be HC of a franchise where she is already established, once Pop retires that is. If you listen to Spurs players talk of her (TD), you know she is more than qualified. I think she could be a trail blazer being the HC in a city where she has respect from the players already. Moving into a 'new' situation, I'm not so sure that would work in her favor, or women's aspirations in the men's game, for that matter.

  82. I like this generation of players, they're not (for the most part) sexist or bullies like Kobe and Michael Jordan (who would punch his teammates in practice). They're more open-minded. Spurs players have said she's ready for a head coaching job right now. She needs to stay away from bad franchises like Toronto (which just fired the NBA coach of the year), Jordan's Charlotte team, and so forth. Her best optioin might be to stay in San Antonio and succeed Popovich as that organization is run very well.

  83. I clicked the link because it’s you, but as I feared, the piece was about sports, which holds no interest for me.

  84. Actually, it’s not about sports at all.

  85. Do we really believe that gender makes the greater difference in skills and prudence distribution? Just as we believe that leveling the playing field improves outcomes for all? Well, that's not how it works in the 4 major professional sports, folks. We are what we do well. Gender may play a role in who we become in life, or it may not. It's based on who we are as a person, not a xx chromosome. Remember what your mom told you, or should have: "Do your best!"

  86. You are still living in a cave, Mr. Woebegoner. Sex has for the entire history of humankind determined what our role is in life. We couldn't own property; couldn't work at the jobs we wanted; couldn't vote; couldn't earn higher salaries than the guy sitting next to us -- couldn't get a break.

    And we -- we, being women and some fair and intelligent men -- are struggling to level the playing fields of life. We want the "best" that our moms told us to be to mean "Better than the guys trying to beat you."

  87. Go Becky!

  88. A well-deserved shot at a coaching job, and I hope she gets it. She'll turn some heads.... and then we'll get back to watching the game.

    There was somewhat of a big to-do when the first female refs were installed in the NBA. I noticed, for about 1 play, then went back to the game. Hopefully the same thing will happen after Ms. Hammon and a few other women take charge as head coaches.

  89. It may be extremely rare for women to coach men, but not unheard of: Andy Murray hired Amelie Mauresmo as his coach in 2014, and during the time she coached him he reached an Australian Open final. He has always made it sound like it was no big deal, no huge trail he was blazing, just choosing the best person for the job at the time.

  90. Gasol can't be her Veep. He's a Spaniard! (Check the Natura-Born Citizen clause of the Constitution. Section I, Art. 2, Cl. 5.)

    Chief of Staff, maybe?

  91. Well Frank, I was going to congratulate you on writing an entire column without bashing Trump, but you couldn't resist. But, I don't think Trump invented sexism. The allegations against many of the men (many of whom are dems and friends of big time dems) by the Me Toos were for acts that occurred before Trump was president. The redskins cheerleader event occurred while Obama was president.

    So why don't you take your little partisan hat off and just write a straight column?

    Trump has nothing to do with this women getting a shot to be a head coach in the NBA.

  92. Thanks for this -- but even more for the link to Gasol's article. I want to meet his parents!

  93. No, it will be a stunning sign of progress when we don't have to hear about the greatness of women all the time. At 37, I grew up with it, and although you will right me off as misogynist, every feminist article you post creates more of me. You want to write us off as bad, but we are a group of people merely after our own political interests, same thing the left does, but with much less moralizing. The last 30 years is really the first time men and women have truly been working side by side, and it's clear that it neither benefits men nor women. Women are less happy being pushed into careers they are socialized to think they need, and put off their biological imperative; and men cannot compete because the oppression olympics has made it hard for them to get jobs even if they are the most qualified. Also, the vagueness of the definition of sexual harassment is causing men to lose their jobs and livelihoods over mere allegations. Glad Pop is into virtue signaling. I'm sure she's a great coach, but most american's don't care about breaking this barrier and that barrier. And there is no proof that the supposed breaking of barriers has made us a happier, more productive, or more unified country. I just had to speak out against Bruni talking of the "culture of male entitlement." Feminism is toxic to many, way more than masculinity. We will miss masculinity when the last shred is gone.

  94. Feminism has made this woman happier.

  95. I mean sure this is great news, but... So. What. The world is burning, Trump is president, Fox News is blaring in 100 million households, and you're touting the slim possibility that a woman may be a head coach in the NBA. Progress? Perhaps. But. So. What.

  96. One small step for womankind. Then a slim possibility that something good will come next. And, even if a woman takes the next, even bigger step, you put us down as a "So What?"

    That's been the story all along. Thanks to folks such as you.

  97. Frank,
    There is a MAJOR difference in a woman in a cheer squad---Washington Redskin or Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders!

    These are two different professions! Both require hard work and sacrifice. But the NBA is not hiring Hammon for her “sex appeal.” She is being hired for her knowledge of the game, having played at the professional level and for her ability to coach pro players and working with outsize egos and incredible talent.

    Hammon can make good players better and great players winners. The mindset and sport psychology is a major part of coaching.

    Can a certain player move better without the ball? Is he releasing the ball at the optimal angle, do they have the coach’s free hand at playing?

    Steve Kerr was the PERFECT fit for the Dubs (Golden State Warriors--so “W” as in Dubya or Dubs.) Kerr didn’t use the old practice skills of the weave or burn sprints. He let them hoist up the rock from the opposite end of the court as they entered for practice. If they missed he didn’t care. He wanted his players comfortable, not being terrified at doing the wrong thing, getting benched and berated.

    These are grown men and modern coaches treat them like adults. Ticket holders now come hours early to see practice--Steph Curry dribbling with two hands, taking impossible shots. Think of Harlem Globetrotters NOT a Mike Rice at Rutgers who was taped hitting his players and screaming obscenities.

    A woman coach doesn’t yell or berate. Players can see her professionalism.

  98. A woman coach doesn’t yell or berate? You obviously have never witnessed a women’s college game.

  99. This story is blindly sexist against male athletes. It is apparent around the league that most players that has worked with Becky respect her and have gained from the experience. The same is true of Jenny Boucek and Nancy Lieberman. The issue isn't the "Giant Jocks," it's the stonehead owners and their staffs. The players didn't do anything to the cheerleaders. NBA players are not dumb jocks, by and large, they are brand managers worth millions of dollars. Even those who must earn their jobs every summer to stay or get into the league are much more evolved than this trite article allows. Not a great effort, you need a woman coach perhaps.

  100. Hammon for president, cool! But Gasol, a Spaniard, is ineligible to be president, should Hammon die and become disabled, although I could be wrong about that. So instead, how about a ticket of Hammon and Nancy Lieberman, a woman of considerable talent herself?

  101. In an odd way, this situation reminds me about a man who came out of the closet long ago, in another hyper-masculine industry.

    It was Rob Halford, lead singer for the iconic heavy metal band Judas Priest. When he finally made his announcement (which didn't surprise many people), heavy metal fans just looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and kept right on banging their heads to Halford's music. None of us cared who he slept with; we only cared about his music.

    I suspect something similar will happen with Ms. Hammons, if and when she finally gets a job as a head coach. Most fans will only care about the results she produces on the court.

  102. Like birth control and sufferage, feminism in America was and still is primarily a white woman thing.

    Outside of the military, politics and the space program, entertainment and sports have been the primary limited expressions of black merit and opportunity.

    In terms of players the NBA, the NFL and MLB are black like nowhere else in America. But the coaches, managers and owners tend to be white like this lady.

  103. Maybe let her get to the 'Front' bench coaching then we can talk about head coaching - let's hope she can survive all of the 'breathless' and simply overwrought hype.

    She is being 'interviewed' for obvious reasons and none of them has to do with her coaching skill - which is a shame.

  104. What is holding her back is not being a woman. It’s the lack of acceptance in the African American community of people of different sexual orientation. That’s Becky Hammon’s biggest hurdle.

  105. Pau was born in Barcelona....

  106. Has she been beaten by a player yet?

  107. Reading your column always makes my day a bit better, Frank. Thanks as always for your lucid observations. And, uh, ... how about Frank Bruni for the veep spot?

  108. Doris Burke has also cracked an NBA broadcast ceiling by becoming the first woman to become a full-time analyst and the only woman to broadcast Knicks' games on TV and radio.

  109. Ummm, have you ever heard of Cheryl Miller? Apparently not. Cheryl was also drafted by the L.A. Lakers, for the record.

  110. I have held Gregg Popovich in high regard for his understanding of the beauty of sport and the necessity for moral honor. This story adds to that respect. Ms. Hammon is awesome and I wish her all the success she deserves.

  111. "But there’s Hammon, all 5 feet 6 inches of her," - could we also not point out how tall she is? Seems a bit ironic while pointing out that gender may not matter, we have to draw attention to her height, like that matters for a coach. Perhaps we should also know her weight and BMI?

  112. Martin St. Louis' height almost always came up in articles about what a great hockey player he was, in spite of being 5'8" tall.

  113. The league of woke. Yet, you wonder why Trump won.

  114. No, we don’t wonder. Gerrymandering, voting role purges, Russian interference and Comey.

  115. So Trump won because a New Yorker writer paraphrased the NBA commissioner in a way that sounds dopey? Or because Silver joined a Pride parade? Somehow I doubt it.
    This is a woman who — through grit, talent, and intelligence — managed to overcome her height disadvantage to play professionally and has worked successfully as an assistant coach for the Spurs, whose players apparently think very highly of her. Wins are the currency of pro sports, and she will neither become nor remain a coach unless she produces them.
    If you read this article, are familiar with pro basketball, but still think Hammon has somehow benefited from affirmative action; if you're threatened by her success and the opportunities she's earned; if the idea of wokeness (in a sport whose players are overwhelmingly black) makes you want to vote for a racist misogynist: Maybe you're the one who has the problem.

  116. What a great role model for young girls and women. Obviously what sets Hammon apart, besides her talent and intelligence, is that she is very much in charge of her life. Hammon is a woman who has a strong sense of self. All women and men need to aspire to that
    Then girls and boys will have healthy role models to emulate.

  117. Putting women on pedestals just makes it more difficult for us to maneuver, and more subject to being knocked off. I hope it's not the case for this woman, who deserves every chance to fulfill her career aspirations.

  118. How would you like to be first player who refuses to go in the game after she orders him to enter. That guy will be pummeled in the media. He will have to give up his career. It will not be brushed off like Rodney Hood’s act.

  119. But shouldn't he be?

  120. We're looking forward to our own WNBA superstar Lynx player Lindsay Whalen also becoming the new coach of the University of Minnesota women's basketball team. Please note that not only are most coaches of men's teams men, but many coaches of women's teams are men also. It should be an exciting season--both for the Lynx and for the Minnesota Gophers...and hear, hear to more female coaches in general.

  121. Talent is talent. If Poopovich and the other (very) knowledgeable members of the Spurs' organization hired her, then there's a good reason. She has the respect of Spurs and other players. Hope she gets to be head coach of an NBA team. Soon.

  122. I am sure she is great and has earned great merit, but as a feminist I can't help but wonder out loud if she is some how upholding or supporting toxic masculine behavior and culture and somehow has had to buy into the patriarchy and reinforce it while cracking the glass ceiling.

  123. “My job is to be the best that I can be, and if that changes your mind, then great,” she told The New Yorker. “But I can’t be consumed with how you feel about me.”

    This is the mentality that every person in the world should adopt.

    Lead by example, not by words.

  124. That wonderful photo says it all!

  125. Best of luck to Becky Hammon. She doesn't sound like a person who lets the turkeys get her down. She just keeps moving forward.

    Nevertheless she persisted.......

    No I will not yield, I will not yield one second to you.......

  126. I have to note the conduct of the Washington Redskins, that you for that, Mr. Bruni. So that organization isn't solely a racist name, but they've got all the "anti-PC" bases covered. Is there any doubt about what it really means to be "anti-PC" at this point?

    Oh, and Mr. Bruni, two things about Pau Gasol: one, he's Spanish (Catalan, actually); and that rules out my second point, jokes aside, being at the top of the US empire is not something a decent human being should aspire to, either as #1 or #2.

  127. In my experience of many extraordinary women, men, and whomever Hammon´s statements at the end of this column are a common trait. People of great talent who are involved in their work, interested in reaching beyond the norm into the realm of their possibilities are not stymied by physical or cultural limitations. Sure lots of people try to get in their way. But we would certainly be a sad mediocre world without the truly talented obsessive workers among us.

    I share Frank Bruni´s dream - let us elect these type of people to our highest offices.

  128. When my son was in first grade, his teacher shared with me her observation that the children had no problem “lining up” when directed to do so as long as a boy went first to start the line. If a girl stepped up first, the boys would wander around like they weren’t sure what to do. It will be interesting to see if players will
    “get in line” without hesitation when a woman is leading.

  129. I don't know why the talented Becky Hammond deserves to be "used" by Frank Bruni with his sexist comments against men - "how abominably men in high (and low) positions treat and talk about women..." Really? Evidence please. I thought that today's women have been liberated and are free to give back as good as they get. And then there is women's sexual power and not infrequent provocative dress, with the inevitable male (or possibly female) attention - and more - it is designed to attract.
    "With galling regularity players commit sexual abuse and domestic violence". Very sexist and irresponsible unless you have figures to back up these serious libelous accusations. Why do liberated women flock to marry these famous athletes if this is all so prevalent and well known? You do Hammond - who after all has to work with and motivate your horrible men - a major disservice, which of course she would never tell you.

  130. My first coach, starting in the third grade, was the late Jeannie Gilson, Volant, Pa, who coached the Westminster College Little Titans, comprised of sixth grade players from several elementary schools, some twenty miles from campus. I'm pretty sure she was not paid and used her own funds, provided transportation, meals and team uniforms. Our team stayed at her house several times.

    Women's basketball did not exist in my school district at that time. I don't think that Miss Gilson played, and I don't think that she had the advantage of taking college level courses in basketball, but we were taught the same offenses and defenses used at my high school.

    None of us went on to basketball greatness. A few did go on to play for small colleges. The most famous is (don't call me Richie) Dick (Sleepy) Allen, full height 5'10", one of the greatest major league baseball players of his era, a star on two state championship teams. But he never played college ball.

    I am now 74 and am ever grateful to her for teaching us fundamentals about more than basketball.

  131. it makes a great deal of sense for basketball to be the venue for a woman to ascend to the top coaching position. NBA players are mostly persons of color. the push for equality for women and blacks should be closely aligned. both women and blacks have been ruthlessly discriminated against, criminalized, and been the objects or extra judicial killing throughout most of this country's history. and while blacks have experienced actual slavery women have in many cases been defacto slaves. even today the attitudes towards women as expressed by the vice president are antediluvian. so onward and upward for both women and blacks to make america greater.

  132. It’s a different sport, but as an avid fan of major league baseball, I can’t help feeling that it’s declining public profile might well lie in the way it offers no dreams for the girls who play. Women sportscasters feels like a big step up, but that’s not why people put in the work, the dollars, the years, of playing through youth and young adulthood. I have the feeling that more women are hunting up their local softball opportunities than following a team they can never join. Coaching is a definite next step, but in the end, it’s all about that league we can share.

  133. Pau vice-president??? No no no...
    When Catalunya becomes a republic, he´s going to help me out with the visa.

  134. Brava to Hammon for putting her head down and persevering, and bravo to Popovich for having the courage and trusting his incite. But then, to borrow from an old adage: athletic success talks, and Trump, er, well you know the rest.

  135. I deeply regret to inform you that Gasol cannot be her Veep... he was born in Spain.

    What a shame.

    Dan Kravitz

  136. Change comes for women, but slowly. We're cheering Hammon on. Many of us remember Anne Doyle, sportscaster on Channel 2 in Detroit, and a trailblazer in the locker room. Her father, Vince Doyle, announcer for University of Michigan, told her she'd never be taken seriously if she couldn't get locker room interviews. The Tigers tried to shut her out, and many male sportscasters predicted doom and exclusion for everyone. African American center fielder, Ron LeFlore supposedly said, "Let her in. It wasn't too long ago that we were shut out." Opening day 1979 the Tigers let Annie into the locker room. The world didn't end. Same with Becky Hammon. Even if she doesn't get the Milwaukee job, she's clearly being taken seriously. A good omen for all of us.

  137. I sincerely hope the N.B.A. owners will realize what a revolutionary step this would be in realizing you do not have to be a 6.6 foot jock to know how to coach a team. She may be a little green in coaching experience; but it seems Becky Hammon has in the words of Tom Wolfe,"The Right Stuff!"