NEWARK, New Jersey - NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes it is only a matter of time and has "no doubt" the league could see a day when Becky Hammon or another woman is a head coach.
Hammon, 38, was hired by the San Antonio Spurs last season as the first full-time female assistant in the NBA and was put in charge of the recently-concluded Summer League in Las Vegas which the Spurs won with a 6-1 record.
Hammon is a former Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) star who had been hired by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich last summer before ending her playing career in San Antonio.
She had assisted him on a variety of coaching responsibilities during the season before being given responsibility of the team in the Vegas competition.
Said Silver, a former lawyer who took up the league's top post in February 2014: "No different than for me in coming up in my career, unless you're given those opportunities, you're never going to show your ability to be successful.
"So I'm enormously proud of her and I'm enormously proud of the players who've quickly seen that she's a top-notch coach and have been willing to follow her."
He was speaking at the "Beyond Sport United" program on Wednesday, where he joined former NBA star and league global ambassador Dikembe Mutombo and women's great Teresa Edwards on a panel discussing the social responsibilities of the league and its players.
Silver added that with more women playing in the WNBA or working in the NBA, there will be more opportunities for women like the one Hammon got.
He noted: "I think just like we've seen enormous change in our society, just in the last decade, I think that's another ceiling, another barrier that will be broken. And it takes women like Becky being out there.
"You need pioneers and there's been other pioneers before her, but I think you couldn't ask for more of a complete package in terms of former player, student of the game and someone who's able to work within a strong organization like the Spurs."