Diversity Is Still A Major Part of The NBA

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: May 30, 2008

NBANEW YORK – Every year, the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport takes attendance in the front office, sidelines and locker room to see whether biases or glass ceilings might be affecting hiring practices.

Usually, the NBA ranks higher than any other professional sports league. The latest NBA “report card” is no different. Richard Lapchick, author of the study, said, “The NBA has had the top grade among the men’s leagues for race for all 15 previous reports over nearly two decades.

Based on the total points used in the weighted scales, the NBA earned its highest grade ever for gender at 84.5, tied its highest grade ever for race with 96.2 and had the first ever A (90.3) for a combined grade for race and gender in men’s pro sports.

In the 2006-07 Racial and Gender Report Card, the NBA had an A+ for race and a B for gender, which combined to give the league an overall grade of B+.”

Below are some of the highlights reported by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport:

– The NBA achieved the highest percentages for people of color in the history of men’s professional sport in the category of team CEOs/presidents at 23 percent. Team vice-presidents at 15 percent and league office professionals at just over 34 percent tied last year’s percentages.

– In the NBA, almost 80 percent of the players were people of color. The percentage of African-American players increased to 76 percent from last year’s 75 percent mark.

– The percentage of Latinos and Asians remained constant at three percent and less than one percent respectively. International players were down one percentage point to 18 percent.

– Professional opportunities for people of color in the NBA League Offices — at 34 percent — stayed the same as the previous Report Card. This tied the highest percentage in the NBA’s history and the highest in the history of any professional sport from last season.

– Women held 41 percent of the professional positions in the NBA League Office. This increased by two percentage points from the previous Report Card and was higher than any other men’s professional league in any previous Report Card though still below the NBA’s high of 49 percent female professionals in the league office in 1995-96.

– Robert Johnson, who owns the NBA Charlotte Bobcats, remains men’s pro sports only African-American team majority owner.

– There were 12 African-American head coaches at the beginning of the 2007-08 NBA season, the same as in the 2006-07 season. The NBA continues to have the highest percentage in all pro sports at 40 percent of the total. This season matched the second-highest in NBA history, equaling the 40 percent of the 2004-05 and 2006-07 seasons. No other sport has exceeded that figure.

– The 54 African-American head coaches in the history of the NBA are more than twice as many head coaches of color than any other men’s pro sport. Major League Baseball is second with 26 managers of color.

– At 42 percent the NBA set its highest percentage of assistant coaches of color ever.

– As of the end of the 2007-08 regular season, there were seven African-American CEOs/presidents in the NBA, surpassing the previous high of four in 2006-07 and 2005-06. Susan O’Malley, the only female president in the history of the NBA, left the Washington Wizards organization before the beginning of the 2007-08 season.

– In the season under review, the NBA had seven African-American general managers in the 2007-08 season, one less than in the previous season.

– The NBA had 15 percent of its team vice president positions occupied by people of color, the same as last year when it was the highest in the Report Card’s history as well as the highest in the history of any professional sport.

– The percentage of people of color holding NBA team senior administrative positions increased to over 22 percent, up two percent from last year, setting the all-time record for the NBA. The percentage of women holding these positions increased from 25 percent to 27 percent during the same period.

– The NBA increased in its percentage of people of color holding team professional administrative positions since the last Report Card with over 28 percent, up two percent from the previous season and setting the all-time record for the NBA for race. The percentage of women holding these posts decreased to 40 percent from last year’s 41 percent.

– As of the end of the 2007-08 season, 58 percent of the NBA’s referees were white, 37 percent were African-American, and five percent were Latino. Of the 59 referees, one was a woman.

This marks only the fourth time the Report Card is being issued sport-by-sport; the report for MLB has already been released. The complete Racial and Gender Report Card, including all the leagues, will be issued after the release of subsequent individual reports on the WNBA, NFL, MLS and college sport.