NBA sets a high bar for racial hiring

According to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida, the NBA earned an A in racial hiring practices. The TIDES released its 2021 NBA Racial and Gender Report Card on Wednesday.

In the USA, 13.4% of the population is Black or African American.

Steady improvement

Keeping that number in mind, we see that the NBA has done an excellent job in several areas.

For example, in this year’s TIDES report card, in addition to grading the owners category, the NBA was graded for the first time for C-suite executive positions and vice president positions. The percentage of people of color represented in these positions at the team level was 24% and 25.5% for C-suite and team vice president, respectively.

There were several notable racial hiring milestones for the NBA in the past year. While there was no progress for head coaches during the season under review as people of color remained at 30% for the second consecutive year, that changed dramatically when seven of the eight head-coaching vacancies during the hiring cycle at the end of the 2020-21 season were filled by Black men. That tied their 2012-13 total of 13 Black head coaches and brought the total one shy of the 2011-12 record high of 16 head coaches of color in the 2011-12 season.

Five people of color were hired to fill general manager vacancies following the 2019-20 season. With a total of 12 general managers of color (40%), the NBA reached a record in this category and leads all men’s professional leagues. The league also saw an increase from 45.8% assistant coaches of color in 2019-20 to 52.7% in 2020-21. This is the first time in the report card history that more than half of the league’s assistant coaches were people of color.

In the NBPA (NBA Players Association), 100% of the executives are African American.

NBPA Executives 100% black

There is also criticism

While the NBA seems to be on track with hiring people of color, there is also criticism. What about women (50% of the population)? What about Hispanics (18.5 % of the population) and Asians, the fastest-growing population group in the US?

This is a complex issue. Not only for the NBA. If every organization and company should represent the US percentage of race and origin, then clearly, some groups are under-represented in the NBA, while others are overrepresented.

Some argue that no women are playing in the NBA, so why should women be hired as executives or coaches?

That’s a very controversial argument because then you could also use the same argument for a race.

That would be opening up Pandora’s box. In other words, should organizations and companies reflect how the US population is composed or how that organization or company itself is composed?

Should 100% of the executives and coaches in the NBA be men? Should 80% of them be African American? Should that percentage in the NHL be 93% white, or should most of the executive and coaching positions go to Latinos in the MSL?

The world is begger than the USA

What about foreigners in the NBA?

The percentage of foreign-born players in the NBA is significant, but what are the percentages of foreign executives and head coaches in the NBA?

1st Team All-NBA

The majority of the NBA income comes from OUTSIDE the US. In addition, the new generation of young NBA stars is dominated by foreign-born players. We don’t see any of that back at either the organizational or executive level in the NBA! But nobody talks about it. Why?

If one looks at these things from that perspective, it is clear that the NBA may score well in some areas of social justice and race equality but is doing a terrible job in other areas. That’s dangerous. It could provoke a situation in which several minority groups compete with each other because if one group is over-represented, it automatically means that another group is underrepresented. This is a complicated topic. Not only for the NBA but society as a whole.

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