8:27 PM ET
When Spurs coach Gregg Popovich trudged through the tunnel at the AT&T Center after being ejected Wednesday, the magnitude of the moment — Becky Hammon replacing him to become the first woman to act as head coach in a regular-season NBA game — didn’t immediately set in.
“Not on the way to the locker room,” Popovich told reporters on a video conference call before San Antonio played host to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. “I was otherwise engaged, emotionally.”
As Popovich’s rage subsided, recognition for Hammon’s historic feat began to sweep across the country. And the man who added her to his staff seven seasons ago wondered why anyone was surprised.
“It’s been business as usual from the beginning. We didn’t hire Becky to make history,” Popovich said. “She earned it. She is qualified. She’s wonderful at what she does. I wanted her on my staff because of the work that she does. And she happens to be a woman, which basically should be irrelevant but it’s not in our world, as we’ve seen as it’s been so difficult for women to obtain certain positions. It was business as usual for us.”