NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 2, 2015 – One of the most impactful point guards of her generation, WNBA legend Becky Hammon, who helped lead the New York Liberty to three WNBA Finals appearances over her eight seasons with the team, was inducted into the New York Liberty Ring of Honor with a ceremony during halftime of the Liberty’s game against the Seattle Storm on Sunday, August, 2, at Madison Square Garden.
Hammon became the sixth member of the New York Liberty Ring of Honor, which includes current Liberty Director of Player Development Teresa Weatherspoon, and former WNBA All-Stars Sue Wicks, Kym Hampton, Rebecca Lobo and Vickie Johnson.
“I’m always so excited to go back to The Garden,” said Hammon. “I have so many fond memories wearing a Liberty uniform! From the day I first put on that jersey, I beamed with pride representing New York City; it all started here!! On a professional level, let it be known that New York loved me first-and I’ll always love you back.”
“It is a privilege to recognize a true pioneer in the game of basketball in Becky Hammon, by inducting her into the New York Liberty Ring of Honor,” said Team President Isiah Thomas. “During her playing days, Becky thrilled fans by showing what can be accomplished with hard work and determination, while helping establish the Liberty as one of the WNBA’s premier franchises. Her accomplishments as a player and a role model, makes her inclusion amongst the Liberty’s all-time legends a well deserved honor.”
Undrafted out of Colorado State in 1999, Hammon signed a free-agent contract with the Liberty and went on to enjoy a 16-year WNBA career, the first eight of which were spent starring at Madison Square Garden for the Liberty.
She helped lead the franchise to three WNBA Finals appearances (1999, 2000, 2002), including getting New York to within one game of capturing a WNBA title in 1999. Hammon ranks second in franchise history in games played (227) and 3-point field goals (331), and is third on the franchise’s all-time scoring list (2,367 points).
In just her first season with New York, the Liberty topped the Eastern Conference with an 18-14 overall record and reached the WNBA Finals for the second time. New York would come within one game of capturing its first league title, but fell to the Houston Comets, 2-1.
Hammon’s second season saw a second-straight trip to the WNBA Finals, as New York went 20-12, best in the East once again, but Houston stood in the way in the Finals, winning the series 2-0. Hammon averaged 9.4 minutes and 2.1 assists per game during the Liberty’s playoff run.
Two years later, with Hammon again serving as a key contributor, New York made its third Finals appearance over a span of just four seasons. Through the playoffs, Hammon scored 9.9 points with a pair of assists per game, but the Los Angeles Sparks would win the championship.
Over the course of her career, Hammon emerged as one of the premier point guards in the world. She made three-straight All-Star teams from 2003-06, and during that 2003 season eclipsed 1,000-career points. Later that year, she suffered a torn ACL, forcing her to miss the All-Star game despite being named a starter, but she returned even stronger for 2004.
In consecutive seasons, Hammon led New York in scoring, steals, 3-pointers and minutes. The Liberty was back in the conference finals in 2004, and earned another playoff berth in 2005.
Hammon finished her eight seasons in New York with six playoff appearance and three trips to the WNBA Finals. The Liberty posted an overall record of 140-124 (.530) and was 16-18 (.471) in postseason play.
She went on to play eight more seasons with the San Antonio Stars and retired from professional basketball following the 2014 season, when she ranked among the WNBA’s all-time leaders in several major categories. Hammon is seventh in league history in scoring with 5,841 career points and second in 3-point field goals with 829. Additionally, she ranks fourth all-time with 1,708 assists, 16th with 488 steals and sixth in games played with 450.
Immediately following her incredible playing career, Hammon was hired as an assistant coach by the San Antonio Spurs, becoming just the second female assistant coach in NBA history, and the first woman to be named a full-time coach in any men’s major professional sport in North America.
Just last month, she was named the head coach of the Spurs Summer League team in Las Vegas, which she led to the league championship.