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Women in the NBA: Normalizing Their Presence



“It’s opportunities going to very accomplished women who have given their life to the game.” ~ Nancy Lieberman, Basketball Hall of Famer

More and more women are making their presence felt in the NBA. This should not be surprising, though, but it is.

It’s time that we see women in the NBA as normal.

For one, in 2019, the record hits the highest number of women assistant coaches at 11.

Name’s of the women who are changing the male-dominated NBA landscape.

Gayle Benson (Owner, New Orleans Pelicans)

Benson became the first woman to own two teams: Pelicans (NBA) and New Orleans Saints (NFL). She became the principal owner when her husband, Tom Benson, died in 2018.

Swin Cash (VP of Basketball Operations and Team Development, New Orleans Pelicans)

As part of the senior executive, Cash role focuses on guiding player development on and off-court.

Cash was also nominated for the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2020.

Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall (CEO, Dallas Mavericks)

Marshall was the first African-American and female CEO in the league. She helped the team in terms of diversity and inclusion.

Kelly Krauskopf (Assistant General Manager, Indiana Pacers)

Krauskopf was considered as the first female assistant general manager in the NBA. She helped in changing the culture of the team to the elite level.

Jenny Boucek (Assistant Coach, Dallas Mavericks)

She was first hired by the Sacramento Kings as a player development coach in 2017, making her the third woman to become so.

At Mavericks, Boucek’s are tasked to scout opponents while providing feedback to the coaches as well as the analytics department of the team. She was the first assistant coach to the team.

Lindsey Harding (Player Development Coach, Sacramento Kings)

Harding was the current player development coach for the Kings. She also took the same role in her previous team Philadelphia 76ers.

Becky Hammon (Assistant Coach, San Antonio Spurs)

Hammon was the second woman to become a full-time assistant coach in 2014. Before hiring, she was regularly invited to attend the Spurs’ practices, meetings, and games for an expert opinion.

She also became the first female head coach to win a title at the Summer League.

Kara Lawson (Assistant Coach, Boston Celtics)

Lawson joined the Celtics in June 2019.

Before becoming a coach, she was Washington Wizards’ game analyst in 2017.

Lindsay Gottlieb (Assistant Coach, Cleveland Cavaliers)

Hired in June 2019, Gottlieb is the first college coach that an NBA team has hired. She was previously a head coach to the University of California.

Kristi Toliver (Assistant Coach, Washington Wizards)

In 2018, Toliver became a full-time assistant coach for the Wizards. Her case is different because she still plays for the Washington Mystics in the WNBA.

Teresa Weatherspoon (Assistant Coach, New Orleans Pelicans)

Weatherspoon is also a player development coach to the Pelicans. The Naismith Hall of Famer becomes the second woman the Pelicans has hired; Cash was the first.

Sarah Kustok (Television Colour Analyst, Brooklyn Nets)

Kustok previously worked as the colour commentator for Connecticut Sun.

Before becoming the TV analysis for the Nets, she was one of its sideline reporters. She was promoted in 2017 and became the first female solo analyst in the NBA.

She is also a regular contributor to the Nets Magazine.

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