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Aces coach enters Basketball Hall of Fame with familiar faces — VIDEO

Updated August 12, 2023 - 11:08 pm

Becky Hammon’s speech had a few revisions. There were too many people who deserved gratitude and not enough time.

The Aces coach spoke about her love of basketball, the resilience that defined her career and the people who facilitated her rise to become one of the greatest basketball players of her generation, vindicated by her enshrinement to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“To try to wrap up my 46 years of existence and my 25 years of being in either a WNBA or an NBA arena, would nearly be impossible,” Hammon said. “Too many stories and friendships and court battles to even count, but to all my coaches, teammates, players, peers, friends and family, thank you.”

Hammon was enshrined in the Hall of Fame on Saturday at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts. She was joined onstage by presenters Sheryl Swoopes and Teresa Weatherspoon, her former teammates with the New York Liberty.

“In so many ways, I feel like this basketball and life journey for me has been authored by someone else,” Hammon said.

Hammon began by thanking her parents, her siblings and her upbringing in Rapid City, South Dakota. She then used the acronym D.R.E.A.M. — destiny, resilience, encouraging excellence, appreciation and mindset on the mission — to describe her basketball journey.

She also thanked her wife, Brenda, and their two children; her Aces players, whom she told to go to bed in preparation for their game Sunday; and Aces owner Mark Davis, who provided a plane for Hammon to make it to the enshrinement ceremony and still coach the team Friday and Sunday.

Hammon also acknowledged fellow Hall of Fame class of 2023 member Gregg Popovich. The San Antonio Spurs coach added her to his staff in 2014, making Hammon the first woman to hold a full-time assistant job in NBA history in the process.

“I know you weren’t trying to be courageous when you hired me,” Hammon said. “But you did do something no one else in professional sports had ever done. … You’ve changed the trajectory of my life, and so many other girls and young women.”

Hammon also picked up some recognition from some of the Hall of Fame’s other inductees.

Tony Parker, who spent four seasons playing with the Spurs while Hammon was an assistant, called Hammon a “big sister” and said it was an honor to enter the Hall of Fame with her.

“We have a great relationship,” Parker said. “Thanks for all the advice over the years.”

Popovich also took a detour to give Hammon a hug before giving his speech.

Hammon completed her speech by calling for people to continue investing in women’s sports. She said it’s going to take the combined effort of everyone to keep making progress, but added that those challenging moments are where she found her inner strength.

“I wouldn’t change the hard parts,” she said. “Because the hard parts were necessary to build the strength needed for whatever challenge was coming next.”

Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at ayamashita@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ANYamashita on X.

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