Lindsey Harding Sits Down with ESPN, Shares Insight on Female Representation in NBA Coaching Roles
After a nearly record-breaking number of wins for the Sacramento Kings in the 2018-19 season, the team is hungrier than ever for a spot in the playoffs.
In hopes of helping lead them there, the Kings organization added WNBA star and former assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers, Lindsey Harding, to its front office. The Duke grad recently sat down with ESPN to discuss her feelings about her new role, and share insight on what it’s like to be a female coach in a male-dominated field.
“The question is always, 'Will the guys respect you? Can [women] coach men?'” Harding told ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne. “I think the whole thing is just being uncomfortable, or being comfortable in the unknown. The players have never been the issue. I guess it's just being afraid of the unknown."
As noted by Shelbourne, Harding will join the growing list of female coaches in the NBA, including Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs and Kristi Toliver of the Washington Wizards. Her new title also makes her the third full-time female coach to join the Sacramento Kings staff, following in the footsteps of former assistant coaches Jenny Boucek and Nancy Leiberman.
"This isn't the only job in the world that was difficult for women to break through,” Harding pointed out. “At one point, with every job, there was only one woman doing it. And then eventually other women start doing it. I mean, you don't think twice now when you see a female doctor."
In addition to becoming the new assistant coach, she will also serve as a Player Development Coach for the Kings. According to Shelbourne, the general manager of the 76ers, Elton Brand, was quick to encourage Harding to take on these new roles in Sacramento.
"From her strategic and insightful approach as a scout, to her commitment to excellence and attention to detail as a player development coach, Lindsey Harding was fantastic here,” Brand gushed. “I'm thrilled for her promotion and opportunity in Sacramento.”
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