ORLANDO, Fla. — The NBA remains the industry leader among men’s professional sports leagues for racial and gender hiring practices, according to a study released Tuesday.
The University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport gave the NBA an A in a report on its hiring practices, with an A+ in the race category.
The league slipped from an A- to a B+ in gender hiring practices, but scored an overall mark of 90.7.
“There’s no question that the NBA has been for almost 20 years now the leader among men’s sports when it comes to racial and gender hiring practices,” said Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the report.
Using data from the 2012-13 season, TIDES found that African-Americans made up 43.3 percent of all NBA head coaches, and set a record last season with 45.6 percent of all assistant coaches being of color.
According to the study, 35.7 percent of all professional employees in the NBA are people of color and 41.1 percent are women at the league office.
Lapchick said NBA Commissioner David Stern, who will step down in 2014, has embraced the moral imperative for diversity.
“I think he’s charted a course from the time he took over,” said the 67-year-old Lapchick. “I’m old enough where I was around at the point and a lot of people were criticizing the NBA for being quote, unquote too black. They were referring to the players at the time. But David Stern was right from the start someone who said we’re going to put the best players on the court and the best people in the front offices. And I think the result is what the NBA is today in terms of racial and gender hiring practices.
“It will be interesting to see if under (Stern’s future replacement) Adam Silver that leadership level continues. I fully expect it will.”
On the court, African-Americans comprise 76.3 percent of all NBA players, and that 81 percent were people of color.
According to the study are four African-American chief executive officers and presidents in the NBA. There are no Latinos, Asians, or those classified as “others” in CEO/president positions. Sacramento’s Matina Kolokotronis was the NBA’s only woman president as of the beginning of the 2012-2013 season.
While that number may sound low, Lapchick said “there isn’t another president of color in any of the other professional sports and baseball has only had one for less than one season. In more than 20 years the NFL has never had one. So for the NBA to have four, even if that number is down one, is still a significant statement about the NBA.”
Only 23.3 percent of NBA general managers are of color, down slightly from 25.8 percent the year before. There are six African-American general managers/directors of player personnel in all, along with one Asian GM.
The percentage of women holding team professional administration positions decreased by 4.3 percentage points. That’s down from 39.4 percent the year before to 35 percent in 2012-13, which Lapchick said is a concern.
The number of NBA on-court officials of color increased by 1.5 percentage point to a record 47.5 percent last season. In all, 52.5 percent of officials last season were white, 45.9 percent African-American and 1.6 percent Latino. Of the 61 officials, one is a woman.
TIDES will follow with the release of report cards for the NFL, the WNBA, MLS and college sports.