Becky Hammon Talks Locker Rooms, History-Making Role and Inspiration

PHOTO: WNBA star Becky Hammon takes questions from the media at the San Antonio Spurs practice facility after being introduced as an assistant coach with the team, Aug. 5, 2014 in San Antonio.Bahram Mark Sobhani/AP Photo
WNBA star Becky Hammon takes questions from the media at the San Antonio Spurs practice facility after being introduced as an assistant coach with the team, Aug. 5, 2014 in San Antonio.

Becky Hammon has made history as the first full-time female assistant coach in the NBA, but she says that was never her intent.

"It's not that I set out to say, 'I'm going be the first assistant coach in the NBA,'" Hammon said in a Saturday interview with "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts that aired on the show Monday. "That really -- it was never my intent. It just kind of happened very naturally.

Hammon, 37, described her reaction when San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich called her to discuss the opportunity to join the team.

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"And I'm sitting there, like, 'Seriously? Seriously?' And … he said, 'You know, we got a spot for you.' And he said, 'I can even pay you.' So I was like, 'All right, cool, let's do it,'" she recalled.

She told Roberts that she called Popovich back a few days later to ask him a follow-up question.

"I was like, 'well, what exactly am I going to be doing?' And he said, 'Just the same thing as all the other assistants.' Which means I'll be getting yelled at, just like the other assistants also," she said, laughing.

Much has been made of Hammon's basketball knowledge since the announcement. A 16-year veteran of the WNBA, Hammon says she feels comfortable in her level of expertise.

"I feel like I've had 20 years of experience at a very high level, if you throw in college, playing overseas, I've played in hundreds and hundreds of games," she said. "And a pick and roll in the women's game is a pick and roll on the men's game. ... I mean, character, working for each other -- trusting your teammates. That stuff, that's universal."

Her new role will have to wait for just a little bit longer. She had announced that she would retire from the WNBA's San Antonio Stars at the end of the season, but her team made it to the Western Conference playoffs on Friday.

In addition to the question of her basketball IQ, many have raised the issue of Hammon and the men's locker room. Roberts asked her how it would be handled.

"I think it's kind of silly, actually. ... I've been coached by men the majority of my career. It hasn't ever been an issue," she said. "They have never walked in on us. So I don't -- I think it's a nonissue when you really reverse the conversation."

She laughed as she added: "I think it'll be fine. And we're all adults here."

Last week Hammon publicly thanked her teammates and fans for all their support during her time in the WNBA. She also talked about how important it was for her to have been raised in a household that supported her interests.

"It was a neat phone call when I got to call them and tell them (about) the opportunity that was sitting in front of me," she said, recalling the phone call to her parents to tell them about her position with the Spurs.

R.C. Buford, the Spurs' general manager, said Hammon has "prepared for this long before there was ever a WNBA to even aspire to. So she's beaten the odds under so many circumstances."

Hammon said she hopes her story inspires others to dream "a little bit bigger than what they thought they could ever be."