She already has plenty of fond memories of Las Vegas, ranging from her playing days with Colorado State in the WAC tournaments to her coaching days at the NBA’s Vegas Summer League with the San Antonio Spurs.
Come Monday afternoon, Becky Hammon will have another memory to cherish. The one of her No. 25 jersey ascending to the rafters.
The Aces are honoring Hammon at halftime of their matinee against the Dallas Wings by raising her retired jersey inside Michelob Ultra Arena. Hammon, who was named last weekend as one of the 25 greatest and most influential players in WNBA history, played eight seasons for the franchise when it was the San Antonio Stars.
She is still the franchise’s career leader in assists (1,333), 3-pointers (498) and free-throw percentage (92.1). She ranks second in points (3,474) and career scoring average (15.6) and fourth in 3-point percentage (38.8).
“Being here in Las Vegas … it’s another huge honor,” Hammon said Sunday during a video conference with reporters. “I really appreciate the Aces digging back into history and honoring people that came before. That’s how you build culture. That’s how you build character in your organization.”
The Aces all year have honored the franchise’s alumni at halftime of home games, highlighting the history of organization and the players who built it. There is no alumnus more accomplished than Hammon, the undrafted point guard who went on to become one of the WNBA’s greatest players.
Hammon broke into the league in 1999 with the New York Liberty, blossoming from a reserve into an All-Star before being traded in 2007 to San Antonio. She had her best statistical seasons with the Stars and was a three-time All-Star with the franchise, with whom she retired after the 2014 campaign.
She concluded her career as a six-time WNBA All-Star and four-time All-WNBA honoree. She led the league in assists in 2017 and was named one of the league’s top 15 players in 2011 before earning top 25 standing this season.
“I was just kind of the kid that wasn’t picked, and then when you’re picked, you’re amazed,” said Hammon, who will begin her eighth season as an assistant coach with the Spurs next month. “When I got the call from the commissioner telling me I was part of the top 25, it was obviously an amazing moment and an incredible honor.”
The Stars actually retired Hammon’s jersey in 2016, but it wasn’t yet present in Michelob Ultra Arena. That’ll finally change on Monday.
Who: Aces vs. Dallas Wings
When: Noon Monday
Where: Michelob Ultra Arena
TV: NBA TV, MyLVTV
Tickets: Starting at $18 on axs.com
About the Aces (21-8): It’s all about seeding after Thursday’s dominant victory over the Minnesota Lynx. The Aces can clinch a double-bye into the WNBA semifinals with wins in two of their final three games — regardless of whether Minnesota or the Seattle Storm win or lose. Jackie Young is coming off the finest outing of her career, a 14-of-18 performance that netted a career-high 29 points. She’s averaging a career-high 12.3 points while shooting a career-best 50.5 percent from the field.
About the Wings (13-17): They’re playoff bound in their first year under coach Vickie Johnson, formerly an Aces assistant. That despite a losing record. Arike Ogunbowale is one of the most explosive scorers in the league, netting 18.5 points per game. Marina Mabrey ranks as one of the league’s most productive reserves, averaging 13.1 points per game.