Thanks for the memories, Becky!

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Becky Hammon retires after 16 seasons. (Mariah Medina/Stars Hoops)
Becky Hammon retires after 16 seasons. (Mariah Medina/Stars Hoops)

With Becky Hammon announcing her retirement on Wednesday, the Women’s National Basketball Association will be losing a talented, classy athlete that has done so much for the league, inspiring young girls throughout her 16-year career. The Stars Hoops staff along with other Stars media members took some time to give us their thoughts as Hammon gets ready to hang it up at the end of the 2014 season.

Stephen Anderson, Stars Hoops – It is sad to say goodbye to the beautiful and talented Becky Hammon. She has put San Antonio on the map for women’s basketball and has inspired many young girls through the process. I have been blessed to cover her final season in the WNBA and wish her luck on her new journey.

Aneela Syed, Stars Hoops – Becky Hammon is one of the best things to ever to come to San Antonio. (No, really!). She was already a great player before she ever came to San Antonio, but she pushed herself to become an elite level player. She was an MVP candidate for many seasons and she along with Sophia Young-Malcolm truly pushed San Antonio to greater heights. I will never forget the incredible run to the WNBA finals in 2008 and how dominant they were against the Western Conference. Although, they fell short of the title, it was still an amazing season for the Stars. I will never forget Becky Hammon’s three pointers and her scoop shoots as well as her court vision as a point guard. She really made San Antonio her home and developed great friendships with the San Antonio Spurs family. I am really grateful to Becky as she turned San Antonio around and made games fun to watch. Thanks for the memories Becky and good luck in the future!

Michael De Leon, Stars Hoops – It’s always a sad day when you hear about the retirement of one of your idols, one of the people you enjoyed watching so much deciding it was time to hang up their sneakers. It was like that with David Robinson, it will be like that with Tim Duncan, and it is like that now with Becky Hammon.

You see, Hammon is the reason I am a Stars fan. When San Antonio acquired the Starzz franchise from San Antonio, I didn’t immediately catch the bug. I watched every so often, but when I heard they traded for Becky Hammon, a player I watched  in sheer amazement before, I was hooked.

Not only was I watching Silver Stars (at the time) games when they were broadcast, and attending a handful in person, but soon after I became a season ticket holder. Sometime after that, I started the first iteration of this site (Silver Stars Central) with Samantha Garcia.

When I renewed my season tickets, I decided to get two seats for the next year. My catching the Hammon and WNBA bug had not exactly spread. People I knew still made ridiculous jokes about women’s basketball, so I invited them for a game. I took my brothers to a playoff game once and loved seeing their jaws drop when Becky would drive into the paint and finish with a layup under the basket and over much taller players.

Becky Hammon is also the reason I rooted for Russia in the Olympics for the first time ever. Her grace on the floor has been such a joy and a privilege to watch. I’ll miss seeing her as the floor general out there, I’ll miss her craftiness. I’ll miss Hammon to Young-Malcolm, which has become the WNBA’s version of Stockton to Malone.

But hopefully I won’t miss her too much. Hopefully there’s a spot on the bench in San Antonio for her to continue on as a coach.

Good luck, Becky, and thanks for making me see that there truly are two great basketball teams in San Antonio.

Samantha Garcia, Stars Hoops – When Becky Hammon first came to San Antonio she not only brought her amazing skills, but a new core group of fans. It is when I became a fan and fell in love with women’s basketball. Getting to experience the WNBA Finals is something I will never forget. Becky has also taught young girls that you must always try and never give up. Her being undrafted and playing at the highest level just shows she never gave up on her dreams and if she can do it, anyone can. Best of luck Becky!

Andrew Monaco, Stars play-by-play announcer – I’m happy she’s doing it on her own terms, but she’s always done it her way hasn’t she? From going undrafted to being the face of two franchises, even the league for awhile. Her coming to San Antonio solidified the foundation and subsequent success of this franchise. I thought V.J. (Vickie Johnson) coming here was huge, but to get Becky put San Antonio in the upper echelon. I’ve thought one of my favorite moments for such a prolific scorer was the pass she made to V.J. in Game 3 to beat Sacramento in the Western Conference Semis to advance to the Conference Finals in 2007. I have a bunch more on and off the court.

Brenda VanLengen, former Stars color commentatorI’m honored to have witnessed one of the most remarkable careers in women’s basketball history, from Becky’s time as a confident 5’5-ish junior high point guard from Rapid City, SD at our Husker basketball camps in the early 90s through her 16-year WNBA career culminating with San Antonio Stars, for whom I broadcasted games for four seasons. Becky is a true inspiration to everyone who was ever told you can’t accomplish your dreams because “you’re too xxx.”

As I enjoyed watching Becky Hammon as a supremely confident, talented, scrappy young point guard in junior high and high school, I knew she was something special. But, I’d be lying if I said I knew her career would become what it has. Becky is a self-made player who accomplished more in her career than anyone could have imagined because of her heart, her desire, the skills she developed, her work ethic, tough mindedness and her competitive nature.

From Rapid City, South Dakota to carrying Colorado State to the NCAA Sweet 16, to battling to earn the respect of the NY Liberty veterans, to lighting up Madison Square Garden and fighting to become an Olympian, to becoming a star of the WNBA with San Antonio, Becky Hammon has carved out a remarkable, inspirational story and should be celebrated for all she has accomplished. I’m looking forward to seeing how she rocks the world in her next chapter.

One of my favorite stories of Becky’s career is from Teresa Witherspoon. Teresa tells the story of when Becky was trying to make the team, after being undrafted out of Colorado State. Liberty Head Coach Richie Adubato remembered ‘that little girl that made all the 3’s in the NCAA tournament’ and invited Becky to try out for the Liberty. Teresa Witherspoon, Vickie Johnson and the other Liberty veterans didn’t think Becky had what it took to play in the league, so they were physical with her and tried to intimidate her. The more they dished out, the more Becky battled back. It didn’t take very long for Becky to impress all the veterans with her skill and toughness … Becky earned her way onto the Liberty roster and a career was born. Becky was going to prove she belonged.When I coach young players,

I always give Becky as an example of how athletes can accomplish whatever they want if they are willing to work hard on developing their fundamental skills and figuring out how to take advantage of their advantages.

Andy Everett, Stars broadcaster – I knew this day was coming, but like many Stars fans, I’m not ready to see Becky play her last game.  Time takes its toll on everyone. And every year it becomes harder for her to do so well what she has made look so easy for 16 years. I’ve see the ice packs on her knees after every practice, every shootaround, every game, and know that she is going through a lot just to be ready for the next time out.  Unfortunately, the time has come for us to watch one of the greatest players ever for the last time in the next month or two.

Every little girl that is told she can’t do something (or for that matter any little boy too) should have a Becky Hammon poster in her room for inspiration. Can’t isn’t any her vocabulary. A high school standout in South Dakota, Becky was not recruited by her favorite school (Nebraska) because she was only 5’ 6”. She attended Nebraska’s summer camps for years, but was still not offered a scholarship. So she went somewhere that wanted her, (Colorado State) where she went on to become an All American and to date their best player in program history.

After college she went undrafted by the WNBA, because, you guessed it, she was too small. Fortunately, Richie Adubato didn’t listen to her critics and took a chance on her. In 2011 she was named one of the greatest 15 players in the then 15-year history of the league.  Tell Becky she can’t do something and she will prove you wrong every single time.  I have no doubt that whatever she does next which I’m guessing will be coaching or television she will become the best at it. She isn’t immune to hard work, and if she finds any weaknesses, she will work on them until they are strengths.

I’ve been fortunate to know her a little bit and to have a front row seat for many of her games. There a few people if any that you will ever meet that are more genuine, more driven, more giving of themselves, or a better ambassador for women’s basketball. She is not only one of the greatest players of all time; she’s an equally great person. Enjoy the next month of the regular season, and hope the ride lasts deep into the playoffs. There will be players in the future that will eclipse her numbers, but few will ever have the impact on a league and a team as Becky has.

Thanks for eight years in San Antonio Becky, it’s been a great ride for you and most enjoyable for everyone that’s seen you play!

Becky Hammon’s impact on the WNBA will forever be missed. She is San Antonio’s legend. Thank’s for the memories, Becky!

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Stephen Anderson is a writer and editor for the Project Spurs Network. He joined the PS team back in 2014 as a staff writer with Project Spurs and has taken over as editor for network sites Stars Hoops, Rampage Central, and Red Black 90. Stephen graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word in 2017 with a degree in Communications Arts, specializing in Journalism and Public Relations. He is a credentialed media member for the San Antonio Stars, Rampage, and San Antonio FC.

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