Trail Blazers

Neil Olshey says Becky Hammon interviewing with ownership is an 'endorsement'

Trail Blazers

Becky Hammon came so close to making history as being the first woman head coach in NBA history. 

So close that she made it to the final stages of the Blazers’ coaching search between her, Mike D’Antoni, and Chauncey Billups.

Despite reports linking Billups as the lead candidate, hope remained around social media, and with Blazers chair Jody Allen, that Hammon could break through.

 [Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

She came this close but lost out on the opportunity to Billups.

Neil Olshey fielded questions and gave his thoughts on Hammon during Chauncey Billups' introductory press conference.

“We obviously admire Becky,” Olshey said. “She did a great job. Making it as far as the owner in the process isn’t easy. She made it all the way to the ownership level, which is an endorsement.”

Allen was reportedly very high on Hammon and wanted to break the barrier and hire the first woman head coach the league would’ve seen.

 

A piece by Bleacher Report delved into Portland’s search and background intel on Hammon, and the information they received back seemed to not be what they were looking for.

The six-time WNBA All-Star will be entering her eighth season as an assistant with the Spurs, and the support for her to become a head coach is very strong.

Back in 2018 former Blazers Pau Gasol penned an article in The Players Tribune on why Hammon is ready to coach:

"I’ve won two championships … I’ve played with some of the best players of this generation … and I’ve played under two of the sharpest minds in the history of sports, in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. And I’m telling you: Becky Hammon can coach. I’m not saying she can coach pretty well. I’m not saying she can coach enough to get by. I’m not saying she can coach almost at the level of the NBA’s male coaches. I’m saying: Becky Hammon can coach NBA basketball. Period."

Although Hammon didn’t get the result she wanted, overcoming the odds isn’t anything new. Just look at her journey from high school to college and then the WNBA.

Her opportunity will come.