Last night, Colorado State’s basketball GOAT, Becky Hammon, was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

On Aug. 12, 2023, Hammon was officially immortalized among the greatest players and coaches in basketball history. And on this special night, not only did she get into those hallowed halls in Springfield, MA, she went in with a basketball mentor in Gregg Popovich.

Becky Hammon’s career started as a player at Colorado State University, continued in the WNBA and in Russia, and then into the NBA coaching world with the San Antonio Spurs under “Pop,” the head coach. Hammon became the first-ever woman assistant coach in the NBA, and despite rumors she would become the first woman head coach in the league, she recently moved on to head coach the Las Vegas Aces to a WNBA Championship last year.


But that time with the Spurs, from 2014-2020, was certainly a ground-breaking time for Hammon. She not only was the first woman assistant coach in NBA history, she was the first to head coach a game when Popovich was ejected during a 2020 contest. And, Hammon was the first woman on an All-Star Game coaching staff.

On Saturday night, during her Hall of Fame speech, Hammon took time to recognize “Pop” for his courage to hire her in this touching moment:

Ironically, Coach “Pop” was enshrined in the Hall of Fame on this same night, along with other legends like: Dwayne Wade, Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, and Dirk Nowitzki.

Popovich may have courageously hired Hammon, as she put it, but she proved to everyone why she belonged in the NBA.

When others questioned why a woman would work in the NBA, Hall of Famer Pau Gasol famously wrote a letter about her abilities to coach basketball. Gasol, also part of this night and a part of the Spurs when Hammon was the assistant coach, stalwartly stood up for her.

“I’ve played with some of the best players of this generation…and I’ve played under two of the sharpest minds in the history of sports, in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. And I’m telling you: Becky Hammon can coach. I’m not saying she can coach pretty well. I’m not saying she can coach enough to get by. I’m not saying she can coach almost at the level of the NBA’s male coaches. I’m saying: Becky Hammon can coach NBA basketball. Period.”

And while no team hired her as a head coach in the NBA, the Las Vegas Aces hired her in 2021, and Hammon became the first-ever rookie head coach to win the WNBA title.

Here’s a look at Hammon in her orange Hall of Fame jacket, compete with the embroidered logos of all her teams. The first she points out? “My Colorado State Rams.”

Becky Hammon is the greatest men’s or women’s player in CSU history

Hammon’s path, which led all the way to the Hall of Fame, began in Fort Collins at Colorado State.

There, she was celebrated as the greatest player in the Western Athletic Conference’s history, and eventually became known as the greatest in CSU history. That goes for both the men’s and women’s teams.

Hammon was a three-time All-American and the first CSU women’s player to become a consensus All-American in 1999. That same year, she led the Colorado State women to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament. When the Rams lost, she had this quote, found in an old newspaper clipping:

Hammon set nine Colorado State all-time records, including total points (2,740), points per game (21.92), field goals made (918), free throws made (539), three-point field goals made (365) and assists (538). That assists record was just surpassed by Isaiah Stevens some 24 years later.

In 2004, she was inducted into the CSU Sports Hall of Fame and her No. 25 was retired by the school in 2005. Earlier this year, Hammon was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

After Colorado State, Hammon went on to have great success at the WNBA level. She was a 6-time All-Star, a 2-time All-WNBA First-Teamer, and her No. 25 was retired by the San Antonio Stars as well as the Las Vegas Aces. She also played professionally in Russia, and when she wasn’t selected to play for the USA in the Olympics, played and won bronze in 2008 with Russia. Now, Hammon’s the head coach of the Aces, and after winning her first title as a head coach last year, her Aces are No. 1 in the league currently with a 26-3 record.

In a rich history of athletics at Colorado State, Becky Hammon deserves a place on the school’s Mount Rushmore of athletes. Thurman “Fum” McGraw, Jack Christiansen, and Harry Hughes are three possibilities to join her.