By Ken Reed
Is there any logical reason why a female can’t coach male basketball players?
Are females incapable of grasping the intricacies of the pick-and-roll? Are they genetically unable to be passionate about basketball and highly competitive? Is it simply that women basketball coaches can’t communicate or motivate men?
All absurd concepts, right? Yet, the powers that be in pro and college sports continue to be biased toward the idea that men must coach men. The opposite isn’t the case. Tons of men coach women and girls in multiple sports, from youth leagues through the pro ranks. Does that symbolically communicate our true belief as a society, that men inherently are superior to women as sports coaches and strategists?
Well, Becky Hammon isn’t buying in, and thankfully for all progressive-thinking sports lovers, neither is Gregg Popovich and the rest of the San Antonio Spurs’ ownership and management team.
Hammon, the former Colorado State great and long-time WNBA star, is the head coach of the Spurs summer league team, the first woman ever to hold such a title. Hammon was also the first paid female assistant coach in the NBA this past season.
“I’m glad Pop didn’t really care if I was a boy or a girl,” said Hammon recently. “He just said, ‘OK, this mind knows basketball and let’s bring that mind aboard.’ All that anatomy didn’t matter.”
Hammon is aware that she’s charting new territory for female basketball coaches. She’s not running from that but she also wants to just be seen as a basketball coach.
“I don’t want to downplay it,” she said. “At the same time, I just want to coach. It is a big deal, but then it’s not a big deal, kind of in the same breath.”
It is a big deal today. But hopefully, it won’t be for long.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman, and has a long involvement with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport (now called the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition). We discuss the state of college athletics today, given the pressures of NIL, the transfer portal, sports gambling and huge media contracts. McMillen then provides great perspective on the poor state of physical fitness our young people are experiencing today.
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Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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