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Lynx’s Reeve May Draw NBA Interest

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July 25, 2019

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The hiring of a female head coach in the NBA has gone from possible to likely in recent years.

In 2014 Becky Hammon became the first full-time paid assistant female coach in the league when she joined the Spurs staff. During the last few months there has been a trend in hiring females with the 76ers, Cavs, Celtics and Kings placing women on their staffs. There are now nine female assistants in the NBA.

Major League Baseball, the NBA, NFL and NHL have no female head coaches, but the NBA has been a pioneer in its hiring of women as assistants and referees. Is the league ready for its first female head coach?

“Well, I think as a league we’ve been about as flexible as any league, and so probably if it’s going to be done, it’s probably going to happen in the NBA,” said Glen Taylor who owns both the NBA Timberwolves and WNBA Lynx.

The NBA has long been known for its diversity and openness to change. NBA commissioner Adam Silver is an advocate for more females in his league. He wants about half “of new officials (referees) entering the league” to be women, per a May 9 story on Nba.com from the Associated Press. Speaking at an event in Washington, D.C., Silver also said: “There’s no reason why women shouldn’t be coaching men’s basketball.”

Glen Taylor

Taylor told Sports Headliners the first female to become a head coach in the NBA will face “a lot of pressure,” but he thinks it’s just a matter of when—not if—that a woman is leading a club in the league. That person might be promoted from an assistant’s position in the NBA, but certainly Cheryl’s Reeve’s resume could some day put her in the conversation for a head job in the league, or perhaps a No. 1 assistant’s role.

Reeve, 52, is both the Lynx’s general manager and head coach. She is also an assistant coach on the USA Women’s National team that will compete in the 2020 Olympic Games. Since becoming head coach of the Lynx in 2010, she has coached Minnesota to four WNBA titles. Taylor has consistently been impressed with her work. “I am a great fan of her,” he said.

Going into this season Reeve worked with a reshuffled roster including the absence of star players Lindsay Whalen (retired) and Maya Moore (sabbatical for 2019). Yet the Lynx has surprised followers by being a competitive team. Although on a losing streak recently, the club has a 10-10 record is and only 3.5 games out of first place in the WNBA Western Conference.

“I just gotta admire her, how she has changed her defensive strategy and offensive strategy to fit the new players,” Taylor said last week. “It’s been just terrific.”

Worth Noting

The Twins, who hold a two game lead in the American League Central Division over Cleveland, will see the Indians in Minneapolis for a four-game series starting August 8. Prior to that series the Twins will compete against three teams playing less than .500 baseball (White Sox, 45-54; Marlins, 38-62; Royals, 39-64), plus the National League East Division leading Braves, 60-43. The Indians, though, will have a more difficult schedule facing three of four opponents who are at or above .500, including the AL West Division leading Astros, 66-38.

The Twins and Indians will also play two series in September, one in Minneapolis and the other in Cleveland. This season the Twins are 5-4 against the Indians.

Aaron Hicks, the Yankees outfielder who the Twins gave up on and traded to New York, beat Minnesota with a two-run home run on Tuesday night and is hitting .329 in his last 19 games. In that stretch he has seven home runs, 16 RBI and 16 runs scored.

The Twins, who lost two out of three to the Yankees this week in their series at Target Field, attracted a sellout crowd last night of 40,127. It was the club’s eighth sellout of the season.

The Vikings, valued at $2.4 billion, rank No. 35 on the Forbes list released this week of the 50 most valuable sports franchises in the world. The NFL Cowboys ranked No. 1 at $5 billion, with MLB’s Yankees second at $4.6 billion.

Sports Illustrated ranks Golden Gophers senior wide receiver Tyler Johnson No. 62 among its top 100 college football players going into the 2019 season.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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