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WNBA Star Lindsey Harding Invited to Observe Raptors' Training Camp

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With aspirations to one day be a head coach in the NBA, WNBA pro Lindsey Harding uses her experience working with Dwane Casey and the Raptors as just the first of many steps towards reaching her ultimate goal.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The times they are a-changin, folks.

The San Antonio Spurs set the wheels in motion for women to be coaches in the National Basketball Association when Gregg Popovich hired Becky Hammon, a six-time WNBA All-Star and former San Antonio Star, to be on his staff.

WNBA star Lindsey Harding hopes to follow in Hammon's footsteps and become the next full-time, salaried female coach in the league, as Doug Smith of the Toronto Star reports. Says Harding:

Now as I'm getting older, it’s becoming a reality to me and talking to (highly regarded agent) Warren LeGarie, I told him I was going be the first woman to coach in the NBA. I'm not the first but I want to be one of the first.

The 30-year-old Harding, a former first overall WNBA draft pick and current Los Angeles Spark, was invited to sit in on coaches meetings with the Toronto Raptors and observe training camp, offering her basketball know-how while also learning the nuances of being an NBA coach from a very accepting Dwane Casey.

I'm like Pop. If someone can bring something to the table, I'm all ears. Also, I'm all for helping young coaches and Lindsey, to me, is one of those young talents who are going to be a coach in the league.

I think that's a thing of the future, I think our league is becoming a blind-to-gender league (but) you have to have the right personality, the right approach, right knowledge to get the respect of the players.

The NBA is slowly becoming more open-minded to women having predominant roles on the bench and behind the scenes. The general sentiment is straight forward; if you know basketball and have something to offer a franchise, it shouldn't matter what your gender, sexuality or nationality is.

It's not as if the NBA and WNBA games greatly differ anyways, as Lindsey so eloquently points out.

Everything, about 99 per cent, is the same. Drills are the same, language the same, scenarios. Everything. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve really learned, that every single drill, every single thing they talk about is the same thing.

If Harding wants to be an NBA coach, she's going about things the right way. She's making connections, forging relationships, learning the ropes and bringing noticeable value.

She's an asset with a high basketball IQ and superb knowledge of the game. That's all Casey sees and that's all his players see.

Slow and steady wins the race, though. Harding is well on her way.