MSG Networks recently collaborated with the Garden of Dreams Foundation around its “MSG Networks Classroom” to inspire students while giving them advice on how to pursue a career in the sports industry.
As part of the ongoing speaker series, students at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the Bronx attended a Zoom session hosted by former Knicks star Allan Houston and NBA assistant coach and former New York Liberty All-Star Becky Hammon.
Hammon shared stories and opened up about her journey to becoming the first female assistant coach in the NBA and the importance of hard work.
“Well into adulthood, you have to be careful of the voices that you listen to,” Hammon said to the kids. “You got to guard your eyes, what you’re seeing, you got to guard your ears, what you’re hearing, because eventually that stuff seeps into your heart. I think what settles into your heart is eventually what you become.”
Hammon said that she learned to be “careful of the voices” and people she listened to as she matured.
“I capped out and you start to get this thing, ‘I don’t really care what people think or say about me, I’m going to be me. And me is good enough.’ When you get to that point you start to see more growth in your game and in your life, everything becomes more comfortable because you have peace within yourself.”
Hammon also touched on the willingness to learn from great players. As a coach with the San Antonio Spurs, she learned from legends like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Greg Popovich. She said that it was not easy walking into a room with those players.
“The work is where you get your confidence, it becomes second nature to you it’s about habits,” she said. “Coming in there, being willing to listen, it doesn’t matter if you’re an assistant coach, head coach, best player on the team you always have to be willing to learn and be open minded to growth, critique and you take it all in and you move on. You use what you can use, and then you got to spit out the bones.”
She also shared the moments when she knew she wanted to be a coach. Hammon recalled that when her career neared its end in 2014 she began to ponder about her future.
“When basketball was really coming to an end for me, I asked myself, ‘What do I really want my life to be about,'” she said. “I want to lead a life of impact; I want to impact people. The people that had the greatest impact on me were teammates, coaches, people who invested time in me. So then, I thought coaching seems like a natural fit because I want to be in the battle. I want to be in the trenches with you. I don’t want to be talking about the people who are in the battle. I want to be in there with you fighting and scrapping. That was sort of the ‘aha’ moment that I had becoming a head coach.”