American Does Not Regret Playing for Russia in Beijing

NEW YORK -- Despite all the criticism she received in the United States for playing for Russia at the Olympics, American Becky Hammon says she had a positive experience in Beijing and has been received well upon her return.

"Overall the reception has been great, big applauses," Hammon said. "Every now and then ... there's going to be one or two people that are shouting stuff that is ignorant or obscene, or whatever you want to call it. ... This is a free America, you're entitled to your own opinion and entitled to voice it if you'd like. So, it doesn't bother me. I actually prefer if you talk a little trash, it gets me fired up out there."

American-born Hammon became a Russian citizen when she wanted an Olympic experience and realized she would not be picked by the U.S. team. Hammon's decision was called "un-American" before the games by Lisa Leslie, who would win her fourth gold medal for the United States in Beijing.

Hammon was not disappointed with earning a bronze medal with Russia and credited the United States and Australia as being the top two teams.

"I think that's the best our team could do," she said. "We would have needed a large miracle in order to win that gold. I believe in miracles but it wasn't meant to be this year."

She also values her Olympic experience more than the medal.

"To me it was more about the journey," Hammon said. "That medal is going to collect dust just like any other piece of jewelry or hardware. ... What you can take with you is your memories and how you impacted people."

Back with the San Antonio Silver Stars, Hammon is now focused on the WNBA playoffs. With one game left in the regular season, San Antonio has already set a franchise record for wins (23) and has clinched the homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.