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New Face in the NBA - Rebecca Hammon

I have played the game of basketball for as long as I can remember. Growing up I admired the female players and coaches that I was able to watch on T.V. Coach Pat Summitt one of the greatest female coaches of our day who built a powerhouse program in Tennessee, Coach Vivian Springer a wonderful inspiration for black female athletes and coaches, Coach Jody Conradt who accomplished great things at the University of Texas - my dream school at the time- Cheryl Miller a phenomenal player who amazed me with her skills, Clarissa Davis who made a huge impact as player at UT.

This is just to name a few. These were our role models growing up in the 80's in a very small town of Morton Texas. These are the people we wanted to be like one day and gave us hope and motivated us to play hard, to dream big and just believe.

My grandfather would also tell me as a kid "by the time you finish up in High School there will be a professional women's basketball league here in the U.S. for you to play in", "so stick with it" I believed him.

When the WNBA inaugural season came about in the 90's I was absolutely blown away by the response. Some of the best female players from across the world in one league, a league just for us!!! Tina Thompson, Lisa Leslie, Cynthia Cooper, Teresa Weatherspoon, Kim Hampton, Rebecca Lobo, the list goes on and on and on.... There is one player though who captured my heart and spirit when I first watched her play in college from Colorado State University. It was just something about how she played the game that caught my attention and I began to keep up with her career. Rebecca "Becky" Hammon set many records both in High School and in College. She became one of the best point guards in the game. She wasn't drafted into the WNBA her first season but ended up exploding with the New York Liberty.

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I immediately became a fan. You couldn't say WNBA without thinking and saying "Becky" Hammon. Talk about someone who had to work extremely hard through injuries, and some ridicule to get to where she is today. She set a standard that is remarkable and gives all of us who are in this sports industry a visual of what the possibilities are for us as females. San Antonio made one of the smartest moves a franchise and City could make when they signed Becky. She contributed so much to that community and to the game of basketball.

She earned the nickname "Big shot Becky" because of her ability to put up the numbers and it is fitting because she is definitely a "Big Shot" who has now stepped into the realm of coaching. I have always dreamt of coaching in the NBA being the first female to do so and now Becky Hammon has stepped through those doors so many said would never happen. She is the first female coach to be on as a full time, paid, coach in the NBA!!!!!!! I had the honor of meeting her a few years ago in San Antonio and it was really awesome to look at someone I admired in the eyes and say "I appreciate what you have done for women's basketball" I recently ran into her former coach, Coach Dan Hughes who has nothing but respect for Becky. He said "she is going to be a great coach because not only is her basketball IQ strong but she understands her position, and has an amazing work ethic." "She's going to open up so many opportunities for women who are hopeful of breaking into the sports arena of coaching, and training." I couldn't agree more!!!!

It is really exciting to watch the San Antonio Spurs being led in pre-game workouts with Becky and then to see her sitting alongside the best coach of the NBA. Its not easy being a female in this industry trying to pursue dreams and goals when its dominated by men but it is definitely very motivating to know that the gap is getting smaller and the opportunities are getting bigger. This gives the younger generation of young ladies who are studying sports management, video production and analysis, sports training, sports marketing, sports business and ownership the motivation to keep their dreams alive. Destined for GREATNESS!! This is an exciting time for women and sports. I'm looking forward to another successful journey for Becky Hammon, wishing her well. Thanks for the continued inspiration and congratulations!!

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LaQuita Thompson

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