- First-year WNBA head coach Becky Hammon said there are things she’d like changed about the league.
- The six-time WNBA All-Star has a unique perspective given her former role as an NBA assistant coach.
- Hammon said the league has “gotta address the travel thing” — teams flying commercial to games.
Becky Hammon is still in her first season as a WNBA head coach.
But even in just a few months at the helm of the Las Vegas Aces, the former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach has already identified “some glaring things that need to be addressed.”
“There’s some things that I’ve seen, just coming over from the NBA side, that I’d like to see changed immediately,” Hammon said during a press conference ahead of the WNBA All-Star Game, where she served as coach of Team Wilson. “Obviously they’re not doable overnight.”
“I’m sure we’ll be having some phone calls,” she added. “And I’ll probably be the biggest pain in [WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert’s] butt.”
Travel is chief among the concerns of the six-time WNBA All-Star point guard. Across the league, teams are not permitted to charter planes for players and staff thanks to rules laid out in the WNBA’s 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Just last year, the league slapped the New York Liberty with a historic $500,000 fine after billionaire franchise owner Joe Tsai flew his team private during the second half of the season. Players were outraged by the revelation that owners refused a plan to charter flights across the league for a full three years because they feared the athletes would “get used to” the treatment.
“I think they gotta address the travel thing, first and foremost,” Hammon said. “I know we’re locked into the CBA we’re in right now, but we gotta get these girls from A to B in the most efficient way possible, because it directly affects the product on the floor that you’re selling to the public.”
“It is what it is right now,” she added. “But moving forward, I think that’s something that… I would love to see changed.
Aces owner Mark Davis joins Tsai in the camp that believes WNBA players “don’t need to be flying on commercial flights.” During a press conference in February, he argued that “we should have charter flights” because “these women are very tall” and commercial fights can be “very cramped.”
But Davis, Tsai, Hammon, and the rest of the league may have to wait several years before a change on the charter flight front. Until 2027 — when the WNBA’s current CBA expires — travel arrangements will likely be “premium economy (or similar enhanced coach fare)” as dictated by the agreement.