Adam Silver USATSI NBA Commissioner
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There have been 15 women as assistant coaches in the NBA in the 76-year history of the league, but no head coaches yet. NBA commissioner Adam Silver would like to see that change in the near future.

During an interview with Bonnie Bernstein in an NCAA podcast celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX, Silver said more women need to be involved in professional basketball and that progress isn't happening as fast as he would like to see.

"In jobs that aren't about how high you can jump, how strong you are, or how tall you are, things should be completely equal," Silver said. "I think you are going to see that over time in the coaching ranks."

He said progress can be seen by the increasing number of female officials in NBA games, but that coaching staffs are still catching up. Silver said there is "clearly a bias in the system," and that part of it was because a new pool of candidates is still developing. Seeing women work as assistant coaches is a good sign of what is yet to come. 

Becky Hammon made history when she became the first woman to act as head coach in an NBA game in December 2020 when Gregg Popovich was ejected from the San Antonio Spurs' game against the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2021, Hammon was in line to interview for vacant positions with the Portland Trail Blazers and Orlando Magic. However, she went on to take the head coach job for the Las Vegas Aces -- which turned out well for her as she led the franchise to its first ever WNBA Championship. 

Silver said he was thrilled to see Hammon succeed with the Aces this year, but that he wouldn't be surprised if she eventually made it back to the NBA.

Bernstein pointed out that for a female coach to make it in the NBA she has to be accepted by the players. Silver said a lot of young players come from families in which their mother played Division I basketball, and in some cases even played in the WNBA. This, he said, helps create respect for the women's game, which also leads to respect for coaches. 

"This generation coming in grew up differently, and has a different sensibility about roles men and women can play in the workforce. I've said this before, as much as professional sports has led and the WNBA and NBA have led in certain areas, we're a bit behind in this area," Silver said. "We should have more women head coaches. We should have a female head coach right now. We should have more women referees, and it's something we're working very hard on right now."

Although there is not a woman head coach in the NBA right now, Silver said he hopes to see one very soon. 

"I would be hugely disappointed if certainly in five years we haven't seen our first female head coach in the NBA," Silver said.