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NBA: Becky Hammon: ‘I knew I was second’ in Trail Blazers’ search

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While social media was buzzing and rooting for her to become the first female head coach in NBA history, Becky Hammon always knew where she stood in the Portland Trail Blazers’ search.

And it wasn’t the role of favorite — something which became clear when the Trail Blazers hired Los Angeles Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups.

“I knew I was second; I knew who they wanted,” Hammon told CNBC of the search. “And I’m OK with that, because every race I’ve gotten into my entire life, I’ve been behind, and I’m OK with that. And that’s just how it is — but at the same time, I’m not ignorant to what I’m going up against.”

Hammon is getting heavy consideration for NBA coaching openings but hasn’t been able to be the last person standing. The San Antonio Spurs assistant was also part of the Orlando Magic’s search before that franchise settled on Dallas Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley.

Like Hammon, neither Billups nor Mosley had head-coaching experience but both men received an opportunity.

Hammon remains on the outside but said she isn’t upset over being passed over in Portland.

“I’m not mad,” Hammon said. “This is the business, and it’s a very competitive business. But, at the end of the day, throw everything out the window — if you want to hire me, you’ll find a reason to hire me. And if you don’t want to hire me, you’ll find that reason, too. And that’s just that.”

Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey said the club was highly impressed with Hammon.

“We obviously admire Becky,” Olshey told reporters. “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.”

Hammon was a three-time All-American at Colorado State and a six-time WNBA All-Star as a player.

She joined the Spurs’ staff in 2014 and has been learning from future Hall of Famer Gregg Popovich.

Hammon, 44, feels she is ready to make the step to head coach but wants to land that elusive gig due to what she offers as a coach and not due to gender.

“I don’t want to make the news because I’m the first female,” Hammon said. “At the end of the day, I want to make news because I’m hired for my qualifications. It was the original intent of Gregg Popovich when he hired me in 2014 — which is: ‘She added something to the group. She adds something to our team. I admire her mind and the way she looks at the game.'”

–Field Level Media

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