Report: NBA still leads men’s pro sports in diversity hiring
The NBA leads the way in men’s professional sports when it comes to racial and gender hiring practices, according to a diversity report released Tuesday.
The league earned an A+ for racial hiring practices and a B for gender hiring practices for an overall grade of an A. That keeps the NBA “significantly above” other professional sports, according to Richard Lapchick, the report’s author and the director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.
“The NBA remains the industry leader among men’s sports for racial and gender hiring practices even with the increased grading scales introduced last season,” Lapchick said.
The report states that the NBA league office has the best record for people of color in men’s professional sports at a 36.4 percent (357 of 980) employment rate.
The league, which was first to have three team owners who are people of color, had seven women who served as team presidents/CEOs during the 2017-2018 season — the highest among men’s professional sports.
The report states there are also more NBA general managers and head coaches of color than in the past.
The general managers who are people of color doubled last season from 10 percent (3 of 30) to 20 percent (6 of 30), which puts the NBA well ahead of other men’s sports leagues.
That’s a big positive, Lapchick said.
Nine of 30 NBA head coaches were people of color last season. But following changes at the end of this past season, one-third (10 of 30) of all NBA head coaches are now people of color.
The same trend has trickled down to the assistant coach level, where the percentage of people of color increased from 45.4 percent (74 of 163) in 2016-2017 to 45.7 percent (79 of 173) this past season.
Likewise, there was an increase in the percentage of people of color as vice presidents at the team level, increasing to 25.4 percent (148 of 583) this past season, up nearly six percent (86 of 442) from the previous season.
Lapchick also said that in two of the other categories that were reclassified — team management and team professional staff — the percentage of people of color increased significantly from 23.4 percent (174 of 744) to 31.2 percent (771 of 2,469) and from 32.6 percent (976 of 2,997) to 39.5 percent (1,135 of 2,871), respectively.
Lapchick had some concerns when it comes to gender hiring at the team level, a category which dropped for the third straight year.
The percentage of women decreased for team vice presidents and team professional staff. Women who held team vice president positions made up 23.5 percent (137 of 583), a slight decrease from last year’s study. The percentage of women in team professional staff positions decreased by 2.9 percentage points from 40.1 percent (1,202 of 2,997) in to 37.2 percent (1,068 of 2,871).
“It’s something we are keeping an eye on,” Lapchick said. “In men’s sports in general gender hiring is a major concern.”
However, Lapchick said the NBA still outpaces other leagues in gender hiring.
Despite those slight drop-offs in gender hiring, Lapchick called Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA the “industry leaders” among all men’s professional sports leagues in overall racial and gender hiring practices.
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