The Kings' coaching staff has grown in recent days with the addition of Lindsey Harding and Stacey Augmon as assistant coaches/player development and Rico Hines as a player development coach.

When Harding was added onto coach Luke Walton's staff, she became part of an ever-growing group of female coaches in the NBA. She has an extensive résumé in basketball, including nine seasons in the WNBA, but she felt that she played in the same league as the Kings and the 29 other teams.

"The moment you talk to any guy that plays [in the NBA], you say hi, here's who I am and what I've done, I've played [in the WNBA] or coached [in college], there's an automatic respect," Harding recently told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. "It was as if I'd been an NBA player."

But it wasn't easy.

From the beginning, she questioned herself, but it was never about the men she would be working with.

"The question is always, 'Will the guys respect you? Can [women] coach men?' But when you get [to the NBA], the guys aren't the problem at all. That's the most fun part," she said.

The former Duke star said it stems from "just being uncomfortable, or being comfortable in the unknown."

"I think if you speak to any other woman that is coaching here, they would say the same thing about the players," Harding told Shelburne. "They've been fantastic. The players have never been the issue. I guess it's just being afraid of the unknown."

 

But that unknown was never around her ability to know the game. You couldn't tell her she doesn't know basketball. Not when she's someone who has played professionally for years.

In addition to her 9 years in the WNBA, she played internationally in Turkey, Lithuania and Russia. She also participated in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

And those were just her achievements as a player.

She recently comes to Sacramento from the Philadelphia 76ers, where she worked as a player development coach. Before her promotion, she worked as the NBA's first African American female professional scout for the 76ers.

Harding added she's aware of the growth of women within the NBA coaching world, but it's not just basketball that's a struggle for women to get in the door. As a matter of fact, sports are just a small part of it. 

"This isn't the only job in the world that was difficult for women to break through," she said. "At one point, with every job, there was only one woman doing it. and then eventually other women start doing it. I mean, you don't think twice now when you see a female doctor."

At Duke, Harding was a star. She earned the 2007 Naismith College Player of the Year Award and had her No. 10 jersey retired. She was also inducted into the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018, becoming just the third women's basketball student-athlete to receive the honor. 

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The unknown can be an intimidating place, but it appears Harding has the support and the credentials to handle the uncharted territory she will be introduced to. We're just lucky enough to see what she's about to do.