The NBA currently has the highest percentage of African-American athletes since the stat has been tracked. However, the percentage of white players in the NBA has reached an all-time low. Front office positions belonging to both women and people of color has risen since last year—once again everyone wants to be like Mike, as he is the lone African-American majority owner of an NBA team. Richard Lapchick, the author of this research, has shown that the NBA is leading all other major sports as the most uniquely diverse professional sport. In this report card Lapchick keeps us up to date with racial and gender issue progressions in the NBA.

The NBA remains the industry leader on issues related to racial and gender hiring practices. As the 2011 Racial and Gender Report Card shows, the National Basketball Association had the best grade among the men’s leagues for race and gender, as it has for two decades.

The NBA had an A+ for race and an A- for gender for a combined A.

Based on the total points used in the weighted scales, the NBA earned its highest combined grade ever at 92.2, up from its previous high of 91.5 in 2010. The NBA grade for race was 95.3, which was up significantly from the 2010 Report when it was 93.8.

The combined total and the total for race were both higher than for any other men’s sport in the history of the Racial and Gender Report Card.

The NBA again received men’s pro sports’ only A for a combined grade for race and gender.

In last year’s report, the NBA had an A for race, an A- for gender and a combined A.

Below are some of the report’s highlights:

–In the NBA, 83 percent of the players were people of color, an increase of one percentage point from last year’s totals. This represents the highest percentage of players of color since the Racial and Gender Report Card began reporting the composition of the NBA teams. The percentage of African-American players increased by one percentage point to 78 percent, equaling the highest since 2001-02. The percentage of Asians remained constant at 1 percent. The percentage of Latinos increased by one percentage point to 4 percent.  The percentage of people of color classified as other was slightly under 1 percent. The percentage of international players decreased by one percentage point to 17 percent, the lowest percentage since the 2003-04 season.

–At 17 percent, this was the lowest percentage of white players since the Racial and Gender Report Card began reporting the composition of the NBA teams.

–Women held 42 percent of the professional positions in the NBA League Office. This decreased by two percentage points from the previous Report Card.

–Michael Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Bobcats, is the only African-American male team majority owner in the NBA. He succeeded Robert Johnson, previous owner of the Bobcats.

–There were nine African-American head coaches and one Asian head coach at the beginning of the 2010-11 NBA season. The percentage of head coaches of color increased from 30 percent in 2009-10 to 33 percent for 2010-2011.

–45 percent of assistant coaches in the NBA were coaches of color. This was the largest percentage since the RGRC began tracking this.

–At the beginning of the 2010-11 regular season, there were five African-American CEO’s/presidents in the NBA. Terdema Ussery of the Dallas Mavericks held the roles of both CEO and president.  African-Americans held 10 percent of the CEO/president positions, which is a decrease of two percentage points from the 2009-10 season.

–The percentage of people of color holding professional administrative positions on NBA teams increased from 26 percent in last year’s Report Card to 27 percent. Women occupied 39 percent of these positions in the 2010-11 season, which equaled the 2009-10 season’s total.

–As of the end of the 2010-11 season, 55 percent of the NBA’s referees were white, 42 percent were African-American and 3 percent were Latino. Of the 60 referees, one was a woman.

The Racial and Gender Report Card is issued in every sport. The NBA Racial and Gender Report Card follows the Major League Baseball study and is the second report issued in 2011.

The NBA Report Card will be followed by Report Cards on the Women’s National Basketball Association, the National Football League, Major League Soccer and College Sport. The complete Racial and Gender Report Card will be issued thereafter.