The C’s can make a generational statement by replacing Brad Stevens with the NBA’s first-ever female head coach.
So far, much of the rumor mill regarding who will replace Brad Stevens as head coach of the Boston Celtics centered around former NBA players — Chauncey Billups, Jason Kidd, Sam Cassell, and Juwan Howard, to name a few.
(There’s also been a lot of loose chatter about Paul Pierce being up for the job, but there’s zero truth to any of it. And no, Boston fans, Kevin Garnett is apparently not interested, either.)
But there is an increasingly obvious move to be made that could prove monumental not only for the team, but for the overall trajectory of sports in America.
Hiring Kara Lawson.
Why Hiring Kara Lawson Makes Sense for the Celtics
Having spent eight seasons as the coach without an NBA championship ring to show for it, Stevens is undoubtedly under a lot of pressure to make a splash in his first big test after transitioning to the role of front office boss.
After the team was ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Brooklyn Nets to culminate what plenty of fans considered to be a disappointing 2020-21 season, it’s no secret that the C’s are in dire need of someone to breathe new life into the Green and Gold.
In replacing Danny Ainge as the President of Basketball Operations, Stevens will be tasked with finding a coach that not only produces wins on the court, but possesses a leadership style capable of doing something he couldn’t do in his final season —restoring order in the locker room.
Kara Lawson, a former WNBA champion and currently the head coach of Duke University women’s basketball, may just be the right woman for the job.
Not only was she reportedly a favorite in the locker room during her stint as an assistant coach with the Celtics during the 2019-20 season, but she was also “greatly missed” when she left for Duke, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
Stevens himself may have even hinted where his search was headed when he mentioned Lawson after being asked about the possibility that we could soon see the NBA’s first female head coach.
“There’s all kinds of good candidates that are now in the league, there’s all kind of good candidates that will be in the league soon and, without question, that day is coming. I’m amongst the hopeful that it’s very soon,” said Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston, a sentiment echoed by network colleague (and former Celtic) Brian Scalabrine.
Lawson is additionally a strong candidate because of her keen sense of the weight and significance of groundbreaking opportunities for women in her industry. As a panelist in a recent Boardroom event hosted on Clubhouse, Lawson joined several other female athletes, executives, and entrepreneurs in a conversation on what it means to find your voice in sports, industry, and beyond.
And her voice is one that stands to resonate far beyond New England.
Lawson Isn’t the Only Woman in the Mix
While Lawson appears to be in the top tier of candidates for the Celtics coaching vacancy, she’s not the only woman to make her way into the discussion.
Becky Hammon, who became the first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history when she was hired by the Spurs in 2014, has also been rumored to be in the mix. She’s reportedly a candidate for the vacant coaching job in Portland as well.
Much like Lawson, Hammon is a former WNBA player with coaching experience at the pro level and is widely respected throughout the game.
Stevens mentioned her by name when asked about the future of female coaches in the NBA.
“I think there’s several very qualified candidates and Becky [Hammon], obviously, is a terrific candidate,” Stevens said. “I don’t know her well but I know what people think about her and I know how well she’s respected all across the league, by players and the coaches. So I would hope that that time is coming very soon.”
Is This the Year the NBA’s Glass Ceiling Shatters?
The potential hire of either Lawson or Hammon will undoubtedly send shock waves throughout the league and all of the sports.
And that’s a good thing.
Both candidates represent a refreshing change of pace in an NBA coaching carousel traditionally dominated by men. And in this era where hiring women to positions in sports leadership is becoming more and more mainstream, it only makes sense.
So, will the Celtics obliterate the status quo by being the first team in the NBA to hire a woman as their head coach?
There’s a good chance we really do witness history in the weeks to come.
And even if we don’t, the fact that female candidates are finally being seriously considered for top jobs with storied franchises is a huge and encouraging step forward.