BALTIMORE — As a former WNBA president who played in what is considered the first US professional basketball league for women, Donna Orender has been eager for a trailblazing female to join the National Basketball Association in a prominent role.
So she was plenty pleased last week when the world champion San Antonio Spurs hired Becky Hammon, a point guard with the WNBA’s Stars of the Texas city, as a paid assistant coach — a first in NBA history.
“Becky’s a special woman, a great player, a student of the game,” Orender said last week of the veteran backcourt ace. “I always thought that the real breakthrough would be a woman coaching in the NBA because it would indicate a real level of respect. I was always waiting for it.”