Becky Hammon coached the San Antonio Spurs following Gregg Popovich’s eviction against the LA Lakers (Picture: Getty)

Becky Hammon made history on Wednesday night by becoming the first woman to officially coach an NBA team during the regular season.

Hammon, 43, took over from Gregg Popovich after the San Antonio Spurs head coach was ejected in the second quarter of a 121-107 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Assistant coach Hammon could not stop her side from defeat as LeBron James celebrated his 36th birthday by scoring 26 points – the 1,000th consecutive game he has hit double figures.

‘It’s a beautiful thing just to hear her barking out calls, barking out sets,’ said NBA legend James afterwards. ‘Congratulations to her and congratulations for our league.’

The Lakers raced into a 92-74 lead and although San Antonio cut the deficit to eight points in the final minutes, James and Anthony Davis were both on target to close out the win.

‘It is a big deal and a substantial moment,’ Hammon said in a video posted on the WNBA Twitter feed.

‘I have been part of the Spurs for 13 years so I have a lot of time invested in them, and they have a lot of time invested in me, in building me and getting me better.

‘In the moment, I was just trying to win the game. I try not to think about the huge picture and the huge aspect of it, because it can get overwhelming.’

Reflecting on reaching a new milestone, meanwhile, James, who has already eclipsed Michael Jordan for the longest double-digit scoring streak in league history, said: ‘I just go out there and try to prepare and be the best every night I step on the floor.

‘If I’m in uniform, I’ve got to do things that help our team win. If it’s scoring, rebounding, defending, assisting, doing little things.

‘Just be available for my teammates throughout the course of the game when I’m on the floor, also on the bench. And I’ve been fortunate enough to do that throughout my career for the majority of it.

‘It is my job to be focused for those guys and be sure and I am helping them do the things that will help us win.’


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