Empowering Women of the Sports World: Becky Hammon & Michele A. Roberts

For all basketball fans out there, Friday night lights are now a weekend staple with the 2018 – 2019 seasons in full swing, with all opening games on October 16. And while many locals gravitate towards supporting the Miami Heat just for the convenience of it, why not help fellow women breaking ground in the NBA? Forty-one years ago, Luisa Harris became the first woman to be officially drafted to the National Basketball Association (NBA) and earned her spot in the post-training camp over 34 men. Harris never got a chance to play, shortly after training camp she found out she was pregnant.

Nevertheless, this opened the doors for women in the NBA.  2014 would then be the year of girl power. The San Antonio Spurs would go on to hire the second female assistant coach and the first full-time assistant coach in the NBA or any other major sports team in America. Becky Hammon would become a force to be reckoned with and a staple on the Spurs courtside team. After Hammon’s successful debut in the 2014-2015 regular season, she became the team’s Summer League head coach, leading the San Antonio Spur’s to win the Las Vegas Summer league title.  Becoming not only the first but also the only woman to this date to be a coach in an NBA professional Summer league. 

Shortly after the National Basketball Players Association would vote their new executive director,  Michele A. Roberts, becoming the first woman to head a major professional team organization in North America. Robert’s story overcomes all odds and breaks all stigma and stereotypes that associated to not only women, but also women of color being an African American woman from the projects. With her hard work and dedication, she is now the head of a world-class organization and a professor of Law in Harvard. 

When you thought these women were outstanding enough, did I mention that both Hammon and Roberts were awarded 2014 ESPNW Impact 25 on the first year of their positions? Pretty impressive and empowering if you ask me. 

Not only have team officials strived to have more diversity in their leadership positions but the NBA launched at the start of the season a new series of leadership forums specialized in fostering diversity and more opportunities for women leadership. This season will be the pilot season for this leadership initiative, and the NBA has high hopes teams will include more women in their decision-making process by the end of this season allowing more and more women to show their real potential and show the world that we are versatile, reliable and overall great leaders of our community.