From basketball player to nba coach: Becky hammon's record breaking titles and the identities she's portrayed as in the media


Newspapers and media outlets often have a role in how influential people are perceived; shaping identities through words and pictures on the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks and/or expressions that make a person. Identities assigned to influential people in heavily publicised areas, such as professional sport, who are "making history" have the potential to influence a cultural shift. The objective of this study was to assess news stories from national and local news sources to explore Becky Hammon's journey as the first acting woman head coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in relation to identity and coaching career. Seventy-four news stories from January 2014 (started as assistant coach) until May 2021 (end of the current NBA season) were analyzed. Thematic analysis was used to explore the identities assigned to Hammon, the nomenclature surrounding Hammon's identity, and how journalists discussed her career leading up to her role as the first woman head coach in the NBA. Preliminary results suggest that Hammon has been assigned two recurring identities revolving around her athletic and coaching careers: one of the boys and one of a kind. These identities fed into multiple meanings of womanhood and success in male dominated environments as well as the expectation placed on those "making history". This dichotomy has the potential to limit the recruitment and progression of women in professional coaching positions by reinforcing preconceptions that women have in pursuing a coaching career. Further analysis and Hammon's influence as a woman coaching in the NBA will be discussed.