The Milwaukee Bucks generated a lot of buzz this past week when it was reported that the team would be interviewing Becky Hammon to fill their open head coach position. Hammon, now an assistant on the San Antonio Spurs, will become the first woman to interview for such a high-ranking position in the NBA.
Of course, Hammon’s inclusion in the Bucks coaching search was sure to come with a lot of hot takes from valid cynicism that the Bucks were doing it for P.R. to the most closed-minded among us claiming that she was “skipping the line” as if she were the first outside-the-box candidate to earn an interview. (Seriously, if you’re not complaining about Steve Kerr, Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson, and more getting opportunities without any assistant coach experience – much less under one of the greatest coaches of all time – that’s pretty telling.)
The negative remarks regarding this news have been pushed back against by many. Now, Pau Gasol is joining the fold.
The Spurs big man and two-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers penned an open letter on the Players’ Tribune regarding Hammon and the general idea of a female head coach in the NBA.
Gasol, who has always been among the more socially aware players in the NBA, debunked several myths that critics maintain regarding female head coaches and advocated for a more inclusive NBA.
Here’s just an excerpt from Gasol’s powerful piece:
Which is also why I’m so encouraged to see this league taking the lead on so many important issues. I see it when we’re coming together over something as urgent as Black Lives Matter … I see it when guys like DeMar and Kevin are being vocal and open about emotional wellbeing … I see it when Adam Silver, our commissioner, is marching in an LGBTQ pride parade … I see it when MVPs like Steph and LeBron keep showing the world that nobody is too famous to use their platform to stand up for what they believe in … and of course I see it when a franchise like the Bucks is willing to give an interview for their head-coaching vacancy to a candidate who — male or female — absolutely deserves it.
I see it everywhere now in this league, and it fills me with pride.
But let’s also not be satisfied.
Let’s recognize that one protest does not mean we have solved the problem of racial inequality in this country. One parade doesn’t mean we’re doing everything we can for the LGBTQ movement. And one coaching interview doesn’t mean we have solved the issue of gender diversity in our workplace.
Shout out to Pau for using his platform to call for more gender equality and diversity in the NBA.