BRIGHTON, MA – Kara Lawson has the distinction of being named the first female assistant coach in NBA History, after being formally introduced by the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
But that’s not what she wants to be known for.
“My mindset is being the first to do something is great,” Lawson told reporters on Wednesday. “I want to be the best, and I don’t want to be the best of my gender. I want to be the best in the league. Obviously that’s easy to say when I’m on my fifth day. I’ve got a lot of learn. I’ve got a steep mountain to climb.
“But I don’t like qualifiers when it comes to judging things, right? Every time someone talks about me, I don’t want it to be about my gender at least when it comes in the confines of a competitive environment.
Despite all that, Lawson recognizes and appreciates the enormous social significance of her hiring.
“Obviously outside from a societal standpoint, that’s going to happen because it’s unusual still. Hopefully, it won’t be unusual down the road. That’s a responsibility that I think everybody that’s been in this position has to do well so that it’s no longer unusual.″
Lawson had an illustrious WNBA career, spanning 13 seasons, winning the WNBA championship in 2005 and an olympic gold medal with team USA in 2008.
Most recently, she has been serving as a broadcaster for Washington Wizards games, but made it clear that she has been waiting for the right opportunity to join the NBA.
That’s when Brad Stevens came calling.
“When I talked to Brad in a number of conversations, I felt from a personality standpoint that he was going to be a good fit for me as starting off doing this,″ said Lawson. “I think it’s really important when you start off as a rookie that you’re surrounded by a good group, by a knowledge group and by a good leader. Brad checked all those boxes for me.
“Everyone on this staff is elite. We all bring different perspectives,″ said Lawson. “My perspective that I try to bring is I’ve been there, I won a championship. I played almost any role that you can possibly play on a team.
“I wanted to go somewhere where I’d be challenged. I wanted to go somewhere where I’d be allowed to coach and I wanted to go to an organization that was going to be playing in big games.”