DeMar DeRozan had high praise for coach Becky Hammon after winning her second straight WNBA championship with the Las Vegas Aces.
The pair worked together for three years when Hammon was an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich. DeRozan reached out to Hammon to congratulate her after the Aces defeated the New York Liberty on Wednesday, clinching a 3-1 series victory despite the loss of star point guard Chelsea Gray.
The Aces were the first team to win consecutive WNBA titles since the Los Angeles Sparks won in 2001 and 2002.
“She’s an amazing person,” DeRozan said Thursday after the Bulls‘ 114-105 preseason loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves at the United Center. “Hell of a competitor, knows the game in and out. My time when I was in San Antonio with her being an assistant coach was amazing.”
Hammon served as an assistant coach in San Antonio for eight seasons, where she quickly grew to prominence as one of the best candidates for a future head coach position. She made history in December 2020 when she became the first woman to serve as a head coach in an NBA game after Popovich was ejected. The following year, the Aces hired Hammon and she immediately led the team to their first championship.
During his time with the Spurs, DeRozan described Hammon as a “big sister” figure who offered a vast wealth of basketball knowledge — while also never backing down from challenging players.
“She felt like one of us, from the IQ of the game, from an ex-player, one of the best players to play in the W,” DeRozan said. “I had no doubt whenever she went into coaching, anywhere she went into coaching, she was going to try to dominate. It’s not surprising for me at all and I’m definitely happy to see it.”