San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon has praised Gregg Popovich for his role in making her the first full-time female coach in NBA history.
Hammon was appointed as assistant coach for the Western Conference franchise in the summer of 2014 and has since achieved great success with the storied organisation.
She became the first ever woman to be a head coach at the NBA Summer League as she led the Spurs to the title in the Las Vegas edition in 2015, becoming the first woman to ever win the Summer League in the process.
The NBA recently released a video on their official YouTube page that included Hammon alongside Draymond Green, Gordon Hayward and Chris Bosh supporting the 'Lean In' campaign, created by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
The initiative is to help promote gender equality at home and in the workplace. Hammon's arrival at the AT&T Center has been the perfect example of that and has helped pave the way for the Sacramento Kings to hire Nancy Lieberman as the second full-time female assistant coach.
In a separate video produced by the NBA for the campaign, Hammon spoke about the impact Popovich has had on her career. The former WNBA point guard insisted he was the real barrier breaker.
“I’m not here unless Coach Pop kind of sees me as genderless," she said. "He sees me as a person who knows basketball. He didn’t care that I was a woman. What he cared about was, can I help the team?
"Pop leaned in for me, big time, and I think people want to put me on this barrier-breaker (role), but really Pop is the barrier-breaker. I might have been the tool, but he thrust me through that ceiling.”
In the same clip, the San Antonio Spurs' head coach said: “She talks the game, she understands the game. So in that respect, I have no doubts that she’s going to be one heck of a coach.”
Hammon has been an influential figure in helping the Spurs record a franchise-best season and will play a huge role if they are to win their first championship during her time as a full-time member of staff.
The Texas-based organisation have been hot on the heels of the Golden State Warriors all season and are still in the running for the top spot in the conference. However, the number one seed has never been the be all and end all for the Spurs.
Coach Pop has his plans in place for the postseason and that often involves resting his big names in preparation for crunch time. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili can expect to get some time off to rest their ageing legs while the likes of Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge are also likely to get some time off.