It's hard to make history in an organization like the Boston Celtics, but that's what Kara Lawson did when the Celtics introduced her on Wednesday as a member of their coaching staff and the first female coach in the franchise's 73-year history.

The news was originally reported last week by ESPN. Lawson had been spotted at the team's summer league practices, but the team's announcement made the news official.

Lawson told reporters at the Auerbach Center that the process started when she got a text from Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

"He asked me if I had a few minutes to chat," she said.

That started Lawson, whose name has been mentioned in NBA circles for the last few years, down the path to Boston.

She brings with her a solid resume both on and off the court.

Lawson played for Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee before embarking on a 13-season WNBA career. During that time, she won a WNBA championship with the Sacramento Monarchs in 2005 and a gold medal with Team USA at the 2008 Olympics.

More recently, she's been a broadcaster, analyst and an adviser for USA Basketball's 3-on-3 teams.

Lawson had spoken to other teams in the past about coaching jobs, but emphasized she was looking for the right fit. That's what she found in Boston.

"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," she said. "... I think it's really important when you start off as a rookie that you're surrounded by a good group, by a knowledgeable group and by [a] good leader, and so (Stevens) checked off all those boxes for me."

Kara Lawson smiles as she answers a question from a reporter on July 3, 2019. Lawson is the first female assistant coach in Celtics team history.
Chaiel Schaffel WGBH News

She said each member of the staff will bring their own perspectives with them to the sidelines. Hers will be shaped by her experience on the court as a player.

"Most of the things that they experience, you know, emotionally, most of them, I've experienced too," she said. "So I cannot just understand, but I can relate to their ups and downs."

Lawson's hiring comes as more women are making their way into NBA coaching.

Becky Hammon became the first woman to be a full-time assistant coach in 2014 when she joined the San Antonio Spurs, and since then, several other teams have brought women onto their staffs.

Commissioner Adam Silver has even spoken out, saying publicly that he wants more women coaching.

But just a few years ago, Lawson said she wasn't getting any calls about coaching.

"So to go from, I don't know, age 22 to age 36 and never get a phone call, to now getting a lot of phone calls ... my small sample size, just using my individual experience, there's been a lot of progress, at least in teams reaching out in trying to see if different women are a good fit for their group," she said.

Lawson is already making herself at home in one of the NBA's most demanding cities, and said she's already been recognized by a supporting fan.

While her hiring is a big deal for the 73-year-old franchise, when it comes to what happens on the court, Lawson doesn't want the conversation to be about gender.

"My mindset is, being the first to do something is great," she said. "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."