Hammon stepped in with 3:56 left in the second quarter in the Spurs’ game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers went on to win the game 121-107.
“I did not walk into the arena thinking that I would be coaching tonight, but that’s the way things go and you roll with it,” Hammon told reporters after the game. “I would have liked a different outcome. Overall, I would have loved to get a win tonight more than anything.”
Popovich will be credited as the head coach in the official statistics, but it was a historic moment. As to how Hammon found out she would take over for Popovich? “He officially pointed at me,” she said. “That was it. He said, ‘You got ’em.'”
Hammon, a six-time WNBA All-Star in her 16-year playing career, was the first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history when hired by the Spurs in 2014.
She previously has served as the Spurs’ head coach during Summer League, which is held during the offseason.