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Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 at 3:25 pm  |  52 responses

Study: 2012 NBA Racial and Gender Report Card


The NBA continued its leading position in the sports industry with its commitment to and record for racial and gender hiring practices during the 2011-2012 NBA season. The Report Card was released by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida.

The NBA received an A+ for racial hiring practices, an A- for gender hiring practices, and an A for an overall grade. The NBA achieved the highest grade for racial hiring practices and overall combined grade in the history of men’s professional sport with scores of 96.8 percent and 92.9 percent respectively.

Richard Lapchick, the director of TIDES and primary author of the report, said, “The standard for racial and gender diversity is led by Commissioner David Stern. He has continually been at the forefront of the issue and has led the charge for the NBA’s progress in racial and gender equality, which featured an historic set of accomplishments in 2012.”

In the NBA league office, 34 percent of all professional employees are people of color and 42 percent are women. The League Office also had 39 women serving as vice presidents in the 2011-2012 season.

“The evidence for the NBA’s continued commitment to gender and racial equality is seen in the strong grades within almost all of the areas considered on the team level. For the first time in the history of any professional sports league, there were more head coaches of color than white head coaches in the NBA. The number of NBA head coaches of color reached an all-time high of 53 percent. This includes the opportunity provided to Kaleb Canales of the Portland Trailblazers as the first Latino head coach in NBA history. Eric Spoelstra became the first coach of Asian descent in any major men’s sport to lead his team to the championship”, noted Lapchick.

In fact, it was a year of breakthroughs for people of Asian descent in the NBA. In addition to Spoelstra, Jeremy Lin had a sensational season with the Knicks before he was injured. Rich Cho, who became the first Asian general manager in any major men’s professional sports league in 2010 when he was GM in Portland, was hired by the Bobcats as General Manager.

Among general managers and top player personnel executives, 26 percent of these positions were held by people of color, representing the best in any of the men’s leagues.

The NBA continued to have the most racially diverse group of players of the major professional sports. People of color represented 82 percent of all players, and 78 percent of all players were African-American. The NBA also has a strong international contingent with 17 percent of all players from nations other than the United States.

Lapchick concluded, “Despite the strong overall grades for the NBA, there is always room for improvement. Most of that is in the area of gender hiring at the team level. But considering all factors, the NBA once again dominated the landscape for being a model league for racial and gender hiring practices.”

Below are some of the report’s highlights:

· African-Americans comprised 78 percent of all NBA players, equaling the largest percentage of African-American NBA players since the 1996-1997 season. Eighty-two percent of players were players of color.

· For the first time in the NBA’s history, there were more head coaches of color (53 percent) than white head coaches.

· African-American head coaches represented 47 percent of all NBA head coaches. This was the highest percentage of African-American head coaches since the 2001-2002 season. The 20-percentage point increase in head coaches of color was the greatest increase for people of color in any position in the 2011-2012 NBA Racial and Gender Report Card.

· Kaleb Canales became the first Latino head coach in the history of the NBA upon his promotion to interim head coach by the Portland Trail Blazers in March 2012.

· Erik Spoelstra, head coach of the Miami Heat, remained the only Asian NBA head coach for the fourth consecutive season. He became the first coach of Asian descent to lead his team to a championship when Miami beat Oklahoma City in 2012.

· At the NBA league office, there were six more women in vice president positions during the 2011-2012 season than in last year’s report, increasing the total to 39 positions.

· Women held 42 percent of all professional positions in the NBA league office, increasing one percentage point from the 2010-2011 season.

· African-Americans held 13 percent of all president and CEO positions for NBA franchises.

· NBA general managers of color remained constant at 26 percent for the 2011-2012 season. There are seven African-American (23 percent) general managers in the NBA. Rich Cho, now General Manager of the Charlotte Bobcats, remains the only Asian general manager in the history of the NBA. Upon his hiring by the Portland Trailblazers in 2010, he became the first Asian-American general manager in major American men’s professional sports.

· Women held 18 percent of vice president positions in the NBA, a three-percentage point increase from the 2010-2011 season.

· As of the start of the 2011-2012 season, there were ten teams with more than one vice president of color.

· People of color represented 22 percent of senior administration positions as of the beginning of the 2011-2012 NBA season.

· The percentage of women who held senior administration positions decreased by two percentage points to 25 percent in 2011-2012.

· The percentage of people of color who held professional administration positions decreased by two percentage points to 25 percent.

· There were seven African-American chief executive officers and presidents in the NBA. Terdema Ussery of the Dallas Mavericks held the role of both CEO and President for the Dallas Mavericks.

· There are two women who held the role of president for NBA franchises as of the beginning of the 2011-2012 season. Matina Kolokotronis and Irina Pavlova, the only females to hold this position since 2006-2007, have held these positions for the past two seasons.

· The percentage of NBA team physicians who are people of color increased dramatically from 10 percent in 2010-2011 to 17 percent in 2011-2012.

· The percentage of head athletic trainers of color increased to 33 percent from 20 percent as of the beginning of the 2011-2012 season. This was the second greatest increase in the percentage of positions held by people of color in any group, behind head coaches.

The percentage of NBA officials of color increased by one percentage point to 46 percent. 54 percent of the NBA’s referees were white, 41 percent were African-American and 3 percent were Latino. Of the 62 referees, one was a woman.

The Racial and Gender Report Card is issued sport-by-sport. The National Basketball Association Racial and Gender Report Card follows the Major League Baseball study and is the second report issued in 2012. 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.

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  • conor

    Congratulations?

  • bike

    “The NBA continued to have the most racially diverse group of players of the major professional sports. People of color represented 82 percent of all players, and 78 percent of all players were African-American.”
    How, exactly, is that considered diverse?

  • smoove

    its things like this that help perpetuate the gender bias and racism cycle… who cares about how many coloreds were hired opposed to whites. same with men/women

  • EJ

    Do people of color include arabs, semites and Asians? Just to be clear.
    And another thing that would be nice to know is, how can you get 100% scores on both gender and race report cards.

  • Hoopster

    Hmmm, seems “diverse” now means 82% black. Learn something new everyday.

  • basketball_iQ

    i hate this subject but they are doing better than the nfl. majority of the players are not white so why would the coaches and execs continue to be. step your game up NCAA(EVERYTHING!)and NFL

  • AiRsMiTh

    @ smoove, It’s unfortunate, but we know there are people who do, or something along those lines. Interesting article I guess…

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    The real problem is a lack of non-white owners.

  • That Dude

    ^ So from reading most of the people who posted before me, looks like all you guys are white and disagree (and don’t understand) affirmative action. Yeah – diversity means more minorities and women, because historically we have been kept out of jobs. Discrimmination is very real and its an obstacle for a lot of people to get jobs.

  • alex80

    United States and its issues with race. always about race. Am I wrong?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7C0vd-L5lg Munky

    I would argue nowadays that it harder for a white male to get a job than it would be for a person of color or a woman.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7C0vd-L5lg Munky

    @That Dude

  • Conoro

    As long as the quality of performance maintains a successful consistency, the employees could be green and it should not make any difference.
    .
    A completely black, white, Asian, or Hispanic workforce would be justifiable if it performed better than any other type. Skin colour actually having a relevance at this point is archaic, and the discussion should not complexify beyond that point.

  • EJ

    America should get rid of affirmative action in education, and just ban schools from choosing their students and charging them for tuition fees all in all if you ask me.

  • Conoro

    Unfortunately, it does compound, but I don’t want to instigate race-ethics warfare.

  • http://blackamericaweb.com charliewinning

    Slam, you can selectively moderate the comments all you want but I’m going to keep posting until you guys get tired of being biased idiots.

  • http://blackamericaweb.com charliewinning

    Munky, you must live in an alternate universe or are simply intent on perpetuating the non-existent issue white male victimhood. You have no facts, statistics, and no reality to back up your false claim. Every major institution in this country is overwhelmingly dominated by white males. The ‘disenfranchised white male’ is a right-winged myth.

  • http://blackamericaweb.com charliewinning

    Munky, you have no facts, statistics, and no reality to back up your false claim. Every major institution in this country is overwhelmingly dominated by white males. The ‘disenfranchised white male’ is a right-winged myth.

  • http://blackamericaweb.com charliewinning

    My bad for the repeat, but the moderators were being jerks…That having been said, I think that the fact that we even have to have these types of studies shows how slow progression is in this country. I care more about the fairness of the opportunities given to ALL people more than the actual make up of the workforce. For all of you complaining about the amount of black players, do you really think the NBA–or any other U.S institution– refuses to select highly qualified white employees or players?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Redd

    @Munky lets say thats even slight true(it’s not). In GENERAL, whites still get away with oppressing non-whites.

  • LeBrOn 4 MvP!

    i think this aint bad. . it aint bad yall

  • dungeon family

    @Munky GTFOH you must be watching Fox news in order to believe that BS

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    White people who think race is “archaic” and believe that anyone who highlights the very real racism in Western society is “instigating racial warfare” are usually the most racist, imo. They’re the most delusional but also the most dangerous.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Here’s a really good comment about racism in the current power structure of the West, and why it’s taboo to use the words “white supremacy” (rather than just racism which suggests equal footing between all colors–which in the West, simply does not exist) by a friend of a friend on Facebook. She’s a college lecturer, btw, and a white woman if you must know (“–” means new paragraph):
    – I have argued in very basic terms that the liberal democratic state is both racist and antiracist at the same time. For example, the state funds antiracist initiatives while enacting racist policies [ex: Affirmative action vs. the War on Drugs]. White supremacy both shines a light on the state’s ‘tolerance’ or ‘benevolence’ towards ‘others’ while at the same time enabling discrimination of those basically considered racially inferior.
    – ‘Integration’, assimilation and so on are unachievable goals set to test those who cannot become part of the nation due the fact that they cannot, by mere virtue of their existence, meet the standards of whiteness. However, none of this is acknowledged with endless examples of successful black people and state endorsed antiracist initiatives being touted as examples of the contrary. Hence, the outrage at suggesting that whiteness itself, rather than racism is the problem.
    – Anyway who points this out is written off as hysterical but dismantling whiteness is a longterm process that first involves constantly challenging the structures that sustain the privilege it affords some at the expense of the great majority. I believe it is inevitable that whiteness will eventually be dismantled but not until the hold it has as a system of thought is challenged thoroughly, including among POC [people of color] who help sustain it by buying into ‘integration’, ‘western values’ and so on.
    Back to me (Teddy): For any knee-jerk outraged idiots, when she says “dismantling whiteness,” she means a political construct/system, not k!lling white people, which is what I’m sure 50% of you got out of that.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Chubachuchi

    ^Wow that’s great insight. It’s people like her who have the most potential to improve the racism issue in the US, which I think is the most racist country (consciously or “unconsciously”)in the world.

  • Conor

    @Teddy-the-Bear: I apologize if I wasn’t clear enough for you. I wrote that the concept of race within the workplace is archaic. Working demographics should exist based exclusively upon talent, intelligence, and competency.
    .
    However, it is one thing to misinterpret a message & another to subject it to ignorant review. Never accuse me of being racist again.

  • Loaf

    Slam must of knew by simply posting this article there was going to be an all out race arguement…. i agree with conor why does race matter? if they can do the job they can do the job….. regardless of background or ethincity

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Okay Connor, but race within the workplace is not archaic at all. We all have an idea of how things “should” be; reality says otherwise. (I don’t believe in meritocracy btw, but that’s another story.) Everyone has a perfect explanation as to why demographic-based hiring and affirmative action shouldn’t exist (the job should go to the most qualified, yada yada yada), except those same people conveniently ignore what was essentially hundreds of years of WHITE affirmative action which continues to this day.
    In a sense though, you’re right–this argument about employment IS pretty irrelevant considering the fact that the majority of *employers* and *owners* happen to be rich white men. Until both the system of ownership and the demographics of ownership change, there will be no substantial progress for black/brown/red/yellow people in the West, much less the world. And the same goes for women. You can bet on that.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Redd

    So @Teddy a lady is commenting on USA racism whilst not being from the USA correct? Ok, plainly said, she’s an idiot to minimize an issue immortalized since the dawn of time. She clearly doesn’t understand it’s ingrained into humanity. More so, she cannot(If she isn’t American) to comment on something that needs to be experienced to be able to thoroughly digest.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    No, it’s not. Racism as we know it (which is basically an extension of imperialism/capitalism) has not been immortalized since the dawn of time. The white power structure has a definitive beginning and will have a definitive end once we realize what it is.
    BTW I only mentioned her race because white people (unfortunately) tend to treat minorities as crazy when they talk about this stuff–so maybe her credentials + race (it’s f*cked up I know, and I regretted this immediately) will get white people to think about this. She’s from the UK which is also part of the West, has a sizable black community, and is part of the white power structure, which is basically what the US inherited from them when their settlers came over.
    What did she say that you had a problem with?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7C0vd-L5lg Munky

    First of all, im not a white person. And secondly do you know what affirmative action means? Say for instance you have two candidates for a job, both have the exact same qualifications, experience, and education, except one is a white male and the other is a black female, who do you think will get hired? These companies get huge tax write offs the more non-white males they have working for them. Didnt mean to push any buttons, thats just the way it is now, not in the past.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Redd

    Really? So please show evidence of a time when there was no racism?

  • Loaf

    @Teddy what do you believe the answer to all of this is then? what do you propose to reslove this “white structure” and racism?

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    There’s moderators now??

  • cuseburg

    @That Dude, come on man, an 82% black league when 12% of the country is black is legitimate diversity? Thats the opposite of diversity and shows some deep seeded cultural peculiarities at work. Anyway my 2 cents on the black guy v. whiteguy getting a job debate, I would say that its generally harder for a black guy to find employment just in that black people are born into disadvantaging situations at a higher rate than white people. If the two are on the same playing field though, i don’t think it really matters, like i don’t think many serious employers actually turn down a qualified hopeful because of their race, and i think thats gonna be increasingly true as older employers keep giving way to younger ones(not that young people can’t be racist).

  • EJ

    @Loaf: I know you didn’t ask me, but since I’m an opinionated b!tch I’m going to present an idea.
    I think something that could help globally is a global government of some kind. Like an upgraded UN which has military prowess and also represents the less powerful countries. Not some NWO sh!t which some people are probably gonna call this idea, but something that could help bring global conflicts to a peaceful resolution, and prevent other governments from funding dictators in the oil-rich 3rd world countries.
    And also, once again, education should be free.

  • http://blackamericaweb.com charliewinning

    Munky, do not ask me about how Affirmative Action works. I know how it is SUPPOSED to work better than you ever will. It has NOT helped to level the playing field. I challenge you to find proof to back up you right-winged myth. Show me where white men are not dominating the power structure. Show me how, even in the NBA, white men are not predominantly in charge of all management and decision making. Give me numbers. Give me facts. Don’t talk to me about conservative nonsense. Talk to me about the reality of our country’s established power structure TODAY. Unemployment data and higher education education data contradict your foolishness, and those numbers are still skewed to paint a prettier picture than it actually is.

  • http://blackamericaweb.com charliewinning

    cuseberg, I cannot argue that the players are predominantly black. The question is, are white player being disenfranchised? Let’s keep it 100% here, good white players means bigger business for the league. That’s not politically correct to say but it’s true. You think the NBA will go against it’s own business interests–the only thing it cares about–to deny potentially great marketing machines an opportunity? Lets keep things in perspective here.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Redd: oh my goodness, first of all educate yourself as to what is colonialism. Of course there has always been tension between different ethnic groups/sects, but the racism that permeates the US and the entire world–the “uniting” racism–is that of WHITE racism, not necessarily PERSONAL racism, but INSTITUTIONAL RACISM. You can’t be a real “racist” if YOU DON’T HAVE POWER. A Mexican can say all the sh!t he wants about how much he hates black people, but in the scheme of things it is meaningless because Mexicans are not subjugating black people all around the world.
    This white power structure is due to 500 years of imperialism and is NOT limited to just the US. The US is the biggest imperialist power in world history though–nowhere in time has there been a country to so thoroughly control EVERY portion of the globe, militarily and economically. Yes black people are one of the hardest hit, but imperialism and the white power structure (which is an excuse for capitalist imperialism) is NOT limited to just black people! Imperialism subjugated all people of color (Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Arab World), and even certain “inferior” white peoples like the Irish and Eastern Europeans, who were both colonized by Western Europe.
    No, this European imperialism (whose spawn is US imperialism) has NOT been around forever. And no other continent has produced this level of racism or had the power to do so.
    I have no idea what you’re even trying to argue here. Just think about it and do your own research.

  • http://blackamericaweb.com charliewinning

    Again SLAM?

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    sorry if I was being snobby or mean there, Redd. It took me a long time to learn about this stuff… so I’m not trying to be a d0uche about it. My bad there. But we do need to know the root of racism in order to fight it. There are material reasons for racism, and certain countries (especially their elite) benefit from it–so it’s not just an emotional thing. On a person-to-person basis it might be, because it’s been ingrained in people’s heads by society. But the bigger picture is strategic, my friend.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7C0vd-L5lg Munky

    Companies are about their bottom line, if it’s saving them money by hiring minorities, it makes fiscal sense to hire minorites.

  • http://blackamericaweb.com charliewinning

    In other words, you can’t actually back up your claim that white males are having a harder time getting hired than minorities. Got it.

  • http://blackamericaweb.com charliewinning

    I can’t even take your argument seriously because you know that you’re arguing a silly point. All you have to do is look around to see how false your idea is, and if you need it you can look at all the available hiring and employment data. None of it backs up your claims. All of it pretty much contradicts you.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    ^ Lol.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Redd

    No worries Teddy, its a touchy issue we’re arguing.

  • LeBrOn 4 MvP!

    yall, can we all just get along in this, real talk. fo real celebrate diversity and equality and not racism. stand up brooklyn!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Chubachuchi

    @cuseburg professional sports is a completely different matter. It’s about athletic performance if there were more white guys performing like (predominantly black) NBA players I’m pretty sure there would be more white players in the league. But that’s not the case so there is no basis for this topic in your workplace diversity argument.

  • biggen

    so i wonder what the differential in pay is for the players.. bc i know now in our business world no matter who is better qualified, people will hire to have divers. so i think i could go out on a limb and say that the pay for a white male player, IS showing racism.. or as some people love to say, thats not “fair”

  • Slamsketball

    I have also read somewhere that 100% of players in the NBA are men. Rating dropping…

  • dayers

    What percentage of white former NBA players get jobs as coaches, front office personell, and commentators compared to the percentage of black former NBA players? Let’s see what kind of a grade they get for that?

  • Chris

    I don’t see how they got an A+ for racial hiring considering they don’t hire Asian or White players hardly at all and don’t seem to care trying to find any.

    Even the referees, who don’t need to be 8 feet tall are unfairly skewed towards being black. Blacks only make up a little over 10% of the population yet are over 40% of the referees? There is course racism in the NBA.

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