NBA Remains Leader In Sports Diversity Among Minorities

By Special to the Daily World
ORLANDO, Fla. – The NBA once again has received a combined “A” for its continued effort to employ minorities and women in important positions within the league and its 30 teams.

An annual report released on June 16 by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports noted the NBA earned its highest-ever combined grade of 92.2, reflecting an A-plus for race and A-minus for gender. That’s up from the previous high of 91.5 in 2010, when it earned an A for race and A-minus for gender.

The NBA remains the only men’s pro sports league with a combined “A” for race and gender.

The report notes that 42 percent of the professional positions in the NBA office are held by women and 36 percent are filled by people of color.

The study found that 83 percent of the league’s players were people of color this season, with the percentage of African-American players increasing one point to 78 percent. The percentage of Asians remained 1 percent, the percentage of Latinos rose slightly to 4 percent and percentage classified as “other” was under 1 percent.

The NBA had nine African-American and one Asian head coach at the beginning of the 2010-11 season, an increase of three percent over 2009-10, when minorities comprised 30 percent of the league’s head coaches. The percentage of minorities serving as general manager doubled to 26 percent, highest among any of the men’s pro leagues.

In addition, 45 percent of the league’s assistant coaches were minorities.

There were five African-American chief executive officers/presidents of teams, including Terdema Ussery, who held both titles for the Dallas Mavericks. Two women held positions of presidents – the first female in such roles since the 2006-07 season – and Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan joined Ussery as the only African-Americans serving as CEOs.

Detroit’s Joe Dumars, meanwhile, was the lone African-American team president of basketball operations.

There were 33 women in vice president positions in the league office, down one from the previous season. The percentage of minorities in senior administrative positions among NBA teams increased one percentage point to 22 percent, and women held 27 percent, up two percentage points over 2009-10.

The report found the percentage of minorities in professional administrative jobs with NBA teams increased to 27 percent, with women filling 39 percent. The overall total was up one percent, while the percentage of women matched the previous season.

Among them are an aggressive recruiting strategy, a program that promotes business opportunities for minorities and women and initiatives that increased the popularity of the league internationally.

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