The Sixers hired Lindsey Harding, 34, to be the team’s first female assistant coach Monday.
Philly.com reported that Harding was promoted from pro scout to player development coach. In doing so, the former WNBA star has become the NBA’s seventh female assistant coach. She was hired last summer to be a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers but Harding had ambitions beyond working with the NBA’s Basketball Operations Associate Program.
“I wanted to get my foot in the door,” she said.
Harding had her mind set towards on-court coaching, front-office opportunities and other scouting opportunities.
“The feeling here, the vibe, the support, growth — the belief in me,” Harding said. “Knowing that I know the game.”
San Antonio Spurs Assistant Coach Becky Hammon became the first full-time female NBA assistant in 2014. Harding and Hammon played against each other. She told ESPN that Hammon encouraged her to pursue a career with the league.
“During this last season, especially working in the front office [program] and going to games, I spent some time talking to her. She was always telling me, ‘You need to come. You need to come. We need more women here,’” Harding said.
Elton Brand, Sixers general manager, sensed her drive early on. He expected that she would one day lead her own team.
“After we interviewed her this summer, everyone I spoke to about her said how driven she was and that her knowledge of the game was impeccable,” Brand said.
“Whether that’s the NBA, or a collegiate program — I don’t think she’ll be at the player-development level for very long.”
Harding was the No. 1 overall pick out of Duke in the 2007 WNBA draft. She played nine seasons in the WNBA, and she played for seven European teams as well. This season, she had more of an appreciation for being on the court and working with the players.
“She’s such a special talent. You feel like she’ll excel in your organization wherever you put her. It’s about what she wants to do, and where she wanted to grow,” Brand said.