Back to Basics with Becky Hammon


I had the sincere pleasure of watching Becky Hammon speak at the Rackspace Headquarters this morning. With the new gig as the assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs and the very recent win of the Summer League, Becky has been hitting headlines left and right. It was no surprise she packed the Rackspace Events Center with standing room only as Rackers flooded in with much anticipation to see her speak in person.

What I loved about her speech, or really about her story, was how authentic it was. Sometimes I think we expect these leaders and these people that are breaking barriers to tell a flashy story. In reality, to be a leader like her, starts with a solid foundation. The Spurs organization is a prime example of having a solid foundation that you can build off of and it’s no surprise that she is now one of those building blocks.  If I had to keep it to five things, here’s what I took away.

To earn respect, you need to listen and serve first.

Becky has been on many teams throughout her lifetime. And no matter how good she is or what her experience was, when she moved to a different team, it was like starting new again. She was still the new person on the team and always had to earn the respect of her teammates. When you ask her about how you earn that respect, she said multiple times “you listen and serve your teammates.” She even said if that means grabbing t-shirts and water bottles, that’s what you did. When she played overseas, it was even more important to show your service because of the language barrier; she needed to show her teammates how much she cared for them through her acts of service.

Trust your heart to make tough decisions and don’t look back.

When Becky wasn’t asked to play for the US Olympic team, she had the option to sit at home and watch the Olympics over some BBQ, or she could go play for Russia. As a girl that grew up in South Dakota, she is as American as you can get so going to play for another country was definitely a tough decision she had to make. So how does she handle tough decisions like this one? She literally said “pray, listen to your heart and depend on your circle of family and friends that have your best interest at heart.” When she made the decision to go play for Russia, she received a lot of backlash and people even questioned her patriotism. But because she felt in her heart that she was doing the right thing, nothing else mattered. She focused on serving her team and being the best she could and ended up bringing home the Bronze.

You don’t have control over someone’s attitude but you do have control on how you respond to it.

I love this point because attitude is something that no matter how good you are at a sport or a certain skill, it’s your attitude that will take you through to success. I’ve learned this as an athlete growing up and is something that I continued to drill into the kids I coached a few years back. You can be the best player on the team from a physical standpoint but a bad attitude can oversee that potential and can be detrimental to the team. It’s no different in the business world. The reality is people will still have bad attitudes and sometimes people might just be having bad days but often times, it’s their permanent being. Becky points out that even though you can’t change someone’s attitude, you can control how you respond. It’s so easy to become the complainer about people but it’s harder to not let it affect you and the rest of the team and even harder to rise above and change the course of direction to a positive one.

Going for the quick win does not mean you will have longevity of winning.

This goes back to building a foundation. She talked about how Coach Pop starts with building a foundation first that is not to be messed with, even through loss. Often times in professional sports, when teams don’t make the playoffs, they will change management, change the team and bring in big names that will hopefully get them a ring. Becky says that they might get a quick win and if that is what they want, then they’ve won. But if they’re looking for tenure and a longevity of wins, those practices will not get them there. This really relates nicely to the corporate world. Companies are often under pressure to hit revenue and profit targets and when they are missed, people panic and change direction, strategy, people, etc. But if you have a solid foundation and a set of core values, missing a goal is just an obstacle that you have to overcome to reach long term success. If you react to that loss, you take yourself backwards instead of forwards.

You really can make a living doing what you love, it just may not be in a manner that you initially thought.

As a little girl, starting at the age of five, Becky loved basketball. She emphasized the importance of repetition and practice. She knew that she wanted to make basketball her career. Her dad always told her that she could do anything. When she asked her dad if she would be able to play basketball in the NBA, he said well, “no.” At the time the WNBA didn’t exist so it didn’t seem possible to pursue a career in the NBA. When she landed the job as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, she said she was excited to make that phone call back to her dad to say “You never said that I couldn’t coach for the NBA.”

What an honor to have heard her in story in real life and what an honor it is to have her as a leader in our city. This was truly a special and memorable moment for myself and many other Rackers. Go Spurs Go!

Moving to Texas? Why San Antonio is a Good Option.

This post was contributed by Tali Wee of Zillow

From the River Walk to the Alamo, San Antonio has a variety of activities for tourists to explore. However, the city has more to offer than attractions. In addition to culture, art, music, entertainment and restaurants, San Antonio is a practical place to live for those looking for affordable housing and good schools.

Here are four reasons why relocating to San Antonio is a good option.

Strong Home Buying Market

The average asking price for a home in San Antonio is $165,000. Comparatively, average list prices in nearby Austin are much higher at $291,000. Houston and Dallas’ median list prices are elevated at $204,500 and $250,000, respectively. Of these four major cities in the Texas Triangle, San Antonio is the most economical option for relocating.
While San Antonio’s asking prices are the lowest of those four major Texas cities, the market is still on the rise. List prices have increased significantly throughout the past year by 10.7 percent. Assuming the market maintains its momentum, purchasing a home now which appreciates should lead to a profit at resale.

Affordable Rental Properties

Zillow Rental Properties









Average Rent (

Rent prices in San Antonio that average $900 per month reflect a 3.9 percent decrease since 2012.

In comparison, the average rent price in Austin is $1,180, illustrating a 7.3 percent increase since 2012 in the region. Similarly to Austin, Dallas also averages higher rent prices at $1,190 per month and Houston’s average rent is $1,340.

Since a leased property isn’t an investment for the renter, the lower monthly price point in San Antonio saves a prospective resident more money.

School Rankings

San Antonio has 438 primary and secondary schools. Out of those, the city has a total of 56 schools that earn a GreatSchools rating of eight or higher, 10 being the highest possible score.

To compare, Dallas has 385 schools, yet only 13 of those have a GreatSchools rating of eight or above. Out of Houston’s 657 primary and secondary schools, there are 33 schools that rank eight or higher. Only 5 percent of Houston’s schools obtained these high rankings, compared to San Antonio’s impressive 12.7 percent. Although Austin is significantly smaller, the city only has six schools ranking eight or higher, narrowing options for potential movers with school-aged children.

The top three elementary schools in San Antonio are Encino Park, Hardy Oak and Roan Forest Elementary, all with a GreatSchools rating of 10. Jose M. Lopez Middle School, Bush Middle School and Frank Tejeda Middle School all rank the highest in grades six through eight. Travis Early College High School, the Young Women’s Leadership Academy and the School of Science and Technology are all top high school facilities in San Antonio. Test scores, community ratings, reviews and student demographics for K-12 public, private or charter schools can be found on Zillow’s school information database.

Low Commute Time

Compared to the major metropolitan areas in the Texas Triangle, San Antonio ranks number two for lowest average commute time at just 25 minutes.
Austin outranks San Antonio by one minute, with an average commute time of 24 minutes. However, the population in Austin is far lower, which explains why accessibility is somewhat easier. Austin is comprised of about 773,906 people while San Antonio’s population is more than 1.3 million. Dallas has a smaller population than San Antonio (1.2 million), yet a higher commute time of 28 minutes. The largest city in the Texas Triangle is Houston, made up of more than 2 million people, with a much higher commute time averaging 29 minutes.

While any major metro city in Texas is going to have its drawbacks and benefits, affordability and the emphasis on education distinguish San Antonio as an ideal relocation city.

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Thank You San Antonio Spurs

Our hearts are heavy for the San Antonio Spurs but man, are we proud.

The Spurs franchise is a good reflection of the San Antonio people – we keep it simple, we are humble and we are passionate. I am so proud that they are the team that represents San Antonio.

Coach Pop has built something great here and as long as him and Tim Duncan are here, I think we still have one more championship we can bring home. Pop is known for his cut and dry interviews but this last interview was solid. He quotes,

“Even in defeat, you have to enjoy your accomplishments,”

and when asked what he told his team after the game, he said,

“I just told them I love them.”

It’s a family. It’s basketball. It’s simple. Thanks Pop for another great year.



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Alan’s Wish

Alan’s mom posted about this experience and I would encourage you to read her post on the “Power of Yes.”

When my colleague forwarded me an email about a 4 year old boy, Alan, and his wish to visit the tallest building in San Antonio as he was battling a deadly cancer, I thought, “we have to go.” I didn’t know his situation, I just knew that this was a rush wish through the Make A Wish Foundation and that he wanted to visit the Weston Centre, a special building for many Rackers (where I use to work). Click here to read more about the Weston Centre in a previous blog post.

So we went and were assigned the 2nd floor, banners and balloons in hand. We thought he was going to each floor chronologically but he wanted to skip around, just to make it interesting for us. We waited and waited, and I was so nervous because I wanted to cheer him on yet, I knew that it wasn’t go to be easy. He finally landed on our floor and we startled him with our loud cheer. Such a beautiful child and his family were all right there standing behind him, supporting him. Check out this video  Racker Dave Sims produced:

I am glad I went. I pray that the family receives the strength to endure the difficult road ahead. I also want to thank Alan for being brave and for showing all of us what life is about. We can’t control what God has planned for us. We do, however, have control over how we live it and we should live each day without regret.

Click here to watch the video on the news.
Click here to see more photos of Alan.

Later that day, I saw this rainbow right over the Weston Centre, just for little Alan.

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Father’s Day 2012: Love, Jacob

Dear Daddy,

Today I am exactly 1 year, 7 months, 2 days old and though we have a long journey ahead of us, I want to stop and thank you for being the best dad ever.

I’ve gone from kicking my legs
To crawling around
To finally sitting up
And getting off the ground

I finally got my first tooth
And learned how to brush my teeth
And can now sit at the dinner table
With you and mommy

And remember my first steps in San Diego?
Just in time for Halloween
So I could be a walking dinosaur
And you could take tons of photos of me

I’ll never forget my Christmas gift,
my first basketball hoop
so now I instead of throwing the ball anywhere
you’ve taught me how to shoot

And I want to thank you
For letting me be silly with mommy
Doing our crazy dances
and allowing us to be loud and crazy

And yes, I was trying to tell you
that I did want to go walking
I love our evening walks Dad
And soon, I’ll be talking

And lastly, thank you for letting me fall asleep on your shoulder.

I love you.

Happy Father’s Day.