Source: Terrence Thomas, San Antonio Express News
Leigh Anne Gullett faced a conundrum. It was NBA All-Star weekend in Houston in February 2006, and Gullett was new to her job as public relations director of the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars.
While working the event, Gullett was waiting in line one day at a Starbucks when she recognized a familiar face standing in front of her. It was New York Liberty All-Star point guard Becky Hammon, one of the WNBA’s most popular players. Gullett had seen Hammon play and pondered whether to introduce herself. She decided against it.
“I thought it might be weird because she played for a different team,” Gullett said.
A year later, Gullett picked Hammon up at the San Antonio International Airport when Hammon arrived in town after being traded to the Stars.
“I had no idea who she was,” Hammon said. “I guess that’s a statement in itself that the fact I’m still good friends with her, the first person that I saw in San Antonio.”
It is a testament to Hammon’s impact. The Spurs’ fourth-year assistant coach, and the first woman hired as a full-time, paid assistant in NBA history, will be inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame Saturday at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
“It’s bittersweet for me, obviously, with the Stars moving to Vegas,” said Hammon, who in 2016 was voted one of the WNBA’s most-influential players in the league’s 20-year history and is now under consideration for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “To me, it’s just special what we did here. The city, and the people around the city, they came when we were winning.
“The people here, I can’t say enough about them. I’ve planted myself in a lot of different countries, cities, but it’s a different feel when it feels like home.”
The Alamo City quickly became that for Hammon, a South Dakota native who was an All-American at Colorado State and played in two Olympics for Russia. She bought a home in San Antonio after her first season. She did not purchase a home in New York City until her eighth season.
To continue reading, please click here: Hammon has made an impact on, off the court