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'Saying goodbye was tough' | Becky Hammon speaks about leaving the Spurs for WNBA coaching job

Following the end of the Spurs' 2021-22 regular season, Hammon quietly exited to begin her WNBA head coaching job.

SAN ANTONIO — With no big send off, Becky Hammon left the San Antonio Spurs to begin her head coaching job with the WNBA Las Vegas Aces once the team's 2021-22 regular season was completed.

Ahead of the team's Play-In game against the Pelicans, Hammon quietly exited from her time with the Spurs as head coach Gregg Popovich announced that the former assistant coach began her job with the Aces.

“Becky has become an integral part of our program in every way, shape and form,” Popovich said. “This is a great opportunity for her to highlight her many skills. Her intuitive feel for the game and ability to teach will serve the Aces very well as she institutes her system and culture.”

Now that Hammon is starting her next chapter in her basketball career, she finally spoke about leaving San Antonio and Popovich admitting it was tough to do.

"I spent a lot of time there obviously," Hammon said. "I've gone to battle with him [Popovich]. Saying goodbye was obviously tough for not only myself but for Pop and the [Spurs] organization."

Said Hammon: "Just really grateful for their leadership and their belief in me and really equipping me to being a successful coach in the future."

Hammon is off to a fantastic start as the new Las Vegas coach.

The team gave a glimpse into her coaching approach with a video of her emphasizing how important it is for her players to be professional.

Hammon replaces Bill Laimbeer, who coached the Aces for the team’s first four years in Las Vegas. He led the Aces to three WNBA Semifinals appearances and the 2020 WNBA Finals.

She played 16 seasons in the WNBA, including her final eight in San Antonio, where she led the franchise to its first WNBA Finals appearance.

On August 5, 2014, San Antonio hired her as a full-time assistant making her the first woman in league history to occupy that position.

On Dec. 30, 2020, following Popovich’s ejection in San Antonio’s game against Los Angeles, Hammon took over on the bench, becoming the first woman acting head coach in the history of the NBA. She even led the 2015 Spurs Summer League team to a title in Las Vegas.

Hammon will not only be missed within the Spurs organization and the NBA but will also be missed in the San Antonio community.

Twitter: @KENS5, @JeffGSpursKENS5

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