The basketball community got the surprise of their lives when the San Antonio Spurs hired Becky Hammon in 2014. As the first ever female coach in the NBA, the move of Gregg Popovich to support Hammon garnered commendations across the league. Moreover, the legacy and reputation of the San Antonio Spurs highlighted the confidence bestowed on her - something that is not to be taken lightly given the roster of players she handles. At the moment, Hammon is widely recognized as the force behind the likes of Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and LaMarcus Aldridge.
To further encourage the public to celebrate women like Hammon, the NBA partnered and showed support for the #LeanIn Together campaign spearheaded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. In creating the LeanIn.Org, she shared that her goal is to bring in inspiring figures to help people understand the benefits of working towards establishing gender equality at work. With Hammon on board, the #LeanInTogether campaign highlighted the benefits of having supportive men in the workplace in terms of growth not only of the women but also of the entire organization.
"Men leaning in is a win-win proposition," said Sandberg in a press release. The Facebook COO added, "When men are dedicated fathers and partners, they have healthier, happier children and stronger relationships. When they stand up for gender equality at work, they outperform their peers. Equality is not just the right thing for men - it's the smart thing."
For her part, Hammon recognized Popovich as the major influence in the opportunities she had since she pursued a career in the male-dominated NBA. She recalled how the San Antonio Spurs head coach relied on her skills. However, Hammon most admired how Popovich ignored the gender barriers and addressed her as an equal.
"Pop leaned in for me, big time," shared Hammon in the spot for the #LeanInTogether campaign. She added that Popovich was the "barrier-breaker" in her life. Hammon further said, "I might have been the tool, but he thrust me through that ceiling."
She went on to state, "I'm not here unless Coach Pop kind of sees me genderless. He sees me as a person that knows basketball. He didn't care that I was a woman. What he cared about was: Can I help the team and will I do a good job?"
Popovich, for his part, gave a very logical reason for his support of Hammon. He said, "She talks the game. She understands the game, so in that respect, I have no doubt she's going to be one heck of a coach."
In addition to Hammon, the #LeanInTogether campaign also featured Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat. Stephen Curry's teammate discussed the role of his mother in his growth as an NBA superstar. Green noted that all his accomplishments would not have been possible without his mom.
Green shared, "I know I wouldn't be where I am today without my mom."
Meanwhile, Bosh honored his wife, Adrienne, whom he described as his partner in all his endeavor. The Miami Heat star said, "She's supported me through everything I've done. It's only right to do the same things. It's an equal partnership."
Watch Hammon's spot for the #LeanInTogether campaign below.