Borrego: Hiring female coaches shows NBA trending right way


By TIM REYNOLDS - AP Basketball Writer



FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2018, file photo, Washington Mystics' Kristi Toliver (20) shoots over Seattle Storm's Sue Bird in the first half of Game 2 of the WNBA basketball finals, in Seattle. WNBA All-Star Kristi Toliver will be an assistant coach for player development for the NBA's Washington Wizards this season. Toliver's job was one of several changes to coach Scott Brooks' staff announced by the Wizards on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, two days before they host the Miami Heat to open the season. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2018, file photo, Washington Mystics' Kristi Toliver (20) shoots over Seattle Storm's Sue Bird in the first half of Game 2 of the WNBA basketball finals, in Seattle. WNBA All-Star Kristi Toliver will be an assistant coach for player development for the NBA's Washington Wizards this season. Toliver's job was one of several changes to coach Scott Brooks' staff announced by the Wizards on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, two days before they host the Miami Heat to open the season. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)


NBA commissioner Adam Silver, left, speaks next to Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob during an awards ceremony to recognize the team's NBA championship prior to a basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


Charlotte Hornets head coach James Borrego reacts during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)


NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants more women throughout the league. He’s getting his wish.

In recent days, two significant moves were made, with Kristi Toliver being added to Washington’s staff of assistant coaches, and Chasity Melvin getting hired as an assistant coach with Charlotte’s G League affiliate in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Those hires are signs of progress.

Few seemed to notice, which also is not all bad.

Women are a becoming a bigger part of the league now than ever before. The hires of Toliver and Melvin were not overlooked; it just no longer seems like such an unusual thing to bring a woman into the fray of an NBA club, probably because the likes of San Antonio assistant Becky Hammon, former Sacramento assistant Nancy Lieberman, Dallas assistant Jenny Boucek, Clippers G League assistant Natalie Nakase and Memphis analyst Nicki Gross took care of the first wave of trailblazing.

“I think it’s great and I think it’s great for the NBA,” said Charlotte’s James Borrego, the league’s first Hispanic full-time coach. “It speaks to our league, the diversity, the openness, the inclusion and I’m proud to be part of that, part of a league that’s open to that. I’ve been around Becky Hammon for a number of years now. These are bright women that belong in our league.”

Certainly, there’s much more progress to be made, including in business offices around the league — as well as on the sidelines.

There’s never been a female NBA head coach, though Hammon — a longtime part of the staff in San Antonio, where Borrego was before taking the Charlotte job — seems on the cusp of breaking that glass ceiling. Only three women have been hired as full-time NBA referees, though Natalie Sago and Ashley Moyer-Gleich will get games this season and are already highly respected by many peers.

Borrego expects the numbers of women in the league to increase.

“They’re here to stay,” Borrego said. “That’s not going anywhere. It’s only going to trend in that direction.”

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FILE – In this Sept. 9, 2018, file photo, Washington Mystics’ Kristi Toliver (20) shoots over Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird in the first half of Game 2 of the WNBA basketball finals, in Seattle. WNBA All-Star Kristi Toliver will be an assistant coach for player development for the NBA’s Washington Wizards this season. Toliver’s job was one of several changes to coach Scott Brooks’ staff announced by the Wizards on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, two days before they host the Miami Heat to open the season. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/10/web1_121615149-700f1054747f4f1a850ba4f749474d3b-1.jpgFILE – In this Sept. 9, 2018, file photo, Washington Mystics’ Kristi Toliver (20) shoots over Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird in the first half of Game 2 of the WNBA basketball finals, in Seattle. WNBA All-Star Kristi Toliver will be an assistant coach for player development for the NBA’s Washington Wizards this season. Toliver’s job was one of several changes to coach Scott Brooks’ staff announced by the Wizards on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, two days before they host the Miami Heat to open the season. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, left, speaks next to Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob during an awards ceremony to recognize the team’s NBA championship prior to a basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/10/web1_121615149-54308993eed64c80a72aa4b72da9cc2f-1.jpgNBA commissioner Adam Silver, left, speaks next to Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob during an awards ceremony to recognize the team’s NBA championship prior to a basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Charlotte Hornets head coach James Borrego reacts during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/10/web1_121615149-9b3f836b044a4d39ac79f4b0fe443d12-1.jpgCharlotte Hornets head coach James Borrego reacts during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

By TIM REYNOLDS

AP Basketball Writer