Becky Hammon’s enduring ‘underdog’ mindset has been instrumental in guiding the defending champion Aces back to success

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Becky Hammon speaks with the players in the second half of the game

Becky Hammon has had to prove herself in basketball from the beginning of her career.

In 1999, she was a top player in college at Colorado State, but she wasn’t picked by any team that year. Despite becoming a star in the WNBA, she never got to play for the U.S. in the Olympics.

Her mindset of earning respect has pushed her to a Hall of Fame career as a player, and now as coach of the Las Vegas Aces, who have won the WNBA championship two times in a row.

“If you think of me as an underdog, that’s fine with me,” Hammon said. “Luck didn’t get me here. I had to work hard. I enjoy working hard. I don’t like being bad at anything.”

Her coaching style reflects this attitude. In Las Vegas, she and her players share the same determination.

A’ja Wilson used being overlooked for MVP last season to fuel her game to new heights this year. When coach Hammon suggested Kelsey Plum come off the bench, Plum responded, “No way.”

Chelsea Gray is an amazing passer in the WNBA but also takes big shots when needed, like in the 2022 finals when she was MVP.

Their shared attitude has built strong team chemistry, proving owner Mark Davis right when he gave Hammon a historic coaching contract in 2022.

Becky Hammon celebrates with players after the game

“Becky is incredibly competitive,” Plum said. “She’s a winner who doesn’t let anything stop her. She figures out how to succeed.”

This season, Hammon has faced challenges. The Aces started with a 6-6 record, matching their total losses from last season. However, since Gray returned from injury, Las Vegas has won seven of their last eight games.

Despite their record, as defending champions, Hammon expects every team to bring their best against the Aces.

“We need to realize that teams are giving their all against us,” Hammon said. “Now is not the time for us to relax. I think we’ve been a bit relaxed lately.”

Wilson isn’t surprised by Hammon’s honesty, likening her to South Carolina coach Dawn Staley. Wilson said both are straightforward in their evaluations but fiercely defend their players.

Becky Hammon gestures the players in the first half of the game

“It makes my job easier knowing I’m not alone,” said Wilson, who leads in scoring (27 points per game), blocks (2.7), and is second in rebounding (10.9).

“Hammon and Coach Staley are similar in that way. They push me hard but also support me unconditionally. I appreciate that because it lets me learn from my mistakes and not feel like I have to be perfect.

“I sometimes aim for perfection, but they remind me to stay grounded.”

Hammon’s experience as a former All-Star helps her connect with players. At 47, she’s acknowledged that her size and speed limitations pushed her to excel in other aspects of the game.


By Brian Anderson

Hi myself Brian, I am a second-year student at Symbiosis Centre of Management Studies, Noida, pursuing a BBA degree. I am a multi-faceted individual with a passion for various hobbies, including cricket, football, music, and sketching. Beyond my hobbies, I possess a keen interest in literature, particularly fictional books, and channels my creativity into content writing. I am constantly exploring the realms of both business administration and the world of imagination through my diverse pursuits.

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