Several weeks ago, sports talk show host Mike Francesa said on his show that, despite the rise of Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, there was “no shot”for a woman to rise to the title of head coach in his lifetime.
Reacting to those remarks and the subsequent discussions they spurred, NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a definitive statement on the matter.Speaking publicly (via ESPN), the commissioner stated, “First of all, let me say that I disagree that there will not be a woman head coach in the NBA. It is hard to say exactly when (it will happen). There are three women currently in the pipeline … There definitely will (be a female head coach). And I think it is on me to sort of ensure that it happens sooner rather than later.”
The NBA has a reputation among American sports leagues as being forward-thinking on social issues. The similarities between the men’s and women’s leagues lead many to believe that the likelihood of a woman serving as head coach is more likely in basketball than in other sports.
Silver has been eager to address the issue in the past as well:
That said, the three women Silver mentions—the Spurs’ assistant coach Becky Hammon, the Kings’ assistant coach Nancy Lieberman, and the Clippers’ assistant video coordinator Natalie Nakase—remain several steps away from head coaching contention.
Silver remains steadfast in his belief, continuing, “When it is not a function of how high you can jump or how strong you are, there is no physical litmus test to being a head coach in the league,” he said, “there is absolutely no reason why a woman will not ascend to be a head coach in this league. We are very focused in on it.”