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This game just like any other business
By Becky Hammon, Special to the Rapid City Journal, 8/13/01

In any line of business, there is a chain of command, and believe it or not, playing in the WNBA is most certainly a business. In the basketball world, the chain of command may run like this: owner, general manager, coach and the players. The players are the workers, and everyone else is management.

The owner hires the general manager to basically run the team. A GM's job is to make money — period. They hire the coaches, help in acquiring players, hire marketers, and the list goes on.

A coach's job is to win — period. They have to find the elements of success and make them fit together to run like a finely tuned machine. They have to find players who not only fit into their system, but also fit in with each other.

The player's job is simple. Play as hard, as smart, and to the best of their ability every time they step onto the court. Like everyone else, we also have bad days at work. Like any occupation, their goal is to do their job well.

So what happens in the chain of command when the lower portion has a problem with the upper portion? You see it at every level of sports — from grade school, to high school, to college, and now it is even showing up in the professional ranks. So when these situations arise, it's important to handle them in a professional manner, and not a personal one.

When something like this comes up in the sports world, or in any workplace, it should be handled the same way — carefully. First, understand that you don't ever want to break the chain of command. If you have a problem with a supervisor, you should take it up with that person, no one else. In probably 70 percent of cases, if handled in this way, you'll probably get it worked out. If it doesn't work itself out, you may just have to live with it. It's tough to swim upstream. The most important thing to remember during situations like this is that you still have to do the best job you can and fulfill your obligations to your employer.

It's always been best for me to just make sure that I'm getting the job done on my end, and let the rest work itself out.

Becky Hammon, an all-state basketball player at Rapid City Stevens and an All-American at Colorado State, is in her third year of pro basketball as a member of the WNBA's New York Liberty.