Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner, recently endorsed the idea that we will see women coaching in the NBA.
Specifically that there will be a female head coach in the NBA.
The key, he states, is to create a pipeline by which women have the relevant experience.
“There definitely will,” Silver said about female head coaches. “And I think it is on me to sort of insure that it happens sooner rather than later.”
“I would make all the same points in terms of being a head coach in the NBA that there is no physical reason why women can’t officiate in the NBA,” Silver added. “I think it is more a function of the fact that they haven’t been in the pipeline to become NBA officials.”
Of course this means there may not be a woman for some period of time. But some women are getting closer to the qualifications.
Currently there are two women coaching in the NBA, Becky Hammon, who serves as an assistant to Greg Poppovich, and Nancy Lieberman with the Sacramento Kings. There have been other examples of women coaching in the summer programs and lower level professional leagues.
A pool of women willing to build a relevant resume of coaching experience in men’s professional basketball may be small. But, there clearly are some. Becky Hammon apparently turned down the Head Coaching job for the University of Florida’s women’s team. That would have paid well and allowed her to be a head coach quickly.
The pool will also be limited until more owners and head coaches buy into the idea and give women the experience they need.
But it’s the start of a conversation, a conversation the NBA is often willing to lead, and that’s a good thing.