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Richard Lapchick’s NBA Racial And Gender Report Card Released

The 2018 National Basketball Association Racial and Gender Report Card (RGRC) was released today.

The league that David Stern built and entrusted to Adam Silver is usually the darling of The Lapchick report on diversity and gender hiring practices among the major pro sports leagues.

Richard Lapchick on Twitter

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at @UCF released “The 2018 Racial and Gender Report Card” for the @NBA. The NBA earned an A+ for racial hiring and a B for gender hiring. @powerofsport @WomensSportsFdn @BeyondSport @UCFDeVosSBM @InstituteSSJ https://t.co/ZUZ8cVwUP9

Nothing changed in his recent 2018 Report Card, which again confirmed the league’s continued leadership position in the sports industry with its commitment to and record for racial and gender hiring practices.

Richard Lapchick, the Director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES or The Institute) at the University of Central Florida and primary author of the report, said:  “In 2018, no other men’s league reaches the same points for race, gender or the combined score. 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.

The NBA received an A+ for racial hiring practices with a score of 98.7 points, up from 94 points in 2017. The overall grade was an A with 89.9 points increasing from 88.5 points last year. The NBA actually improved in many areas covered in the Report Card.

The NBA League Office has the best record for people of color (36.4 percent, up 1.3 percentage points) in men’s professional sport. In fact, professional staff positions at the NBA Office had the best representation of women (39.6 percent, up .8 of a percentage point) out of all of the graded categories for the NBA in this year’s report.

The NBA was the first league to have three owners of color leading its teams. Also, there were seven women who served as team presidents/CEOs during the 2017-2018 season, the highest in men’s professional sports.

Infogram on Twitter

Review the results of the NBA’s 2017 Racial and Gender Report Card https://t.co/SbGZsmF8j5 #infographic #basketball

In 2016, the NBA also got sparkling grades on its report, but a deeper look revealed that it received a D+ for senior administrators at the team level and an F for team vice presidents.  In a TSL article, “The NBA’s Dark Diversity Ceiling,”  we blasted the NBA for being the Masters of illusion when it came to minority hiring.

We discovered a lingering disparity in opportunity at the highest positions of leadership within the league and on the team level.

Since then, however,  we have to give the league a bit more props. While Michael Jordan is still the sole African-American majority owner in the NBA,  according to Lapchick’s report the percentage of people of color in team vice president positions increased significantly from 19.5 percent in 2016-2017 to 25.4 percent in 2017-2018.

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 to 31.2 percent and from 32.6 percent to 39.5 percent, respectively.

In arguably one of the most closely watched positions, the percentage of people of color among general managers increased significantly from 10 percent in the 2016-2017 season to 20 percent this season. The NBA leads all men’s professional leagues in this position.

In New York City, the Knicks have the first All-Black President/GM/Head Coach trio in NBA history with Steve Mills, Scott Perry and David Fizdale. There was also an increase in the percentage of people of color as assistant coaches from 45.4 percent in the 2016-2017 season to 45.7 percent this season.

The head coaching position is still slow motion. Black coaches are getting opportunities, but they aren’t sustaining their jobs. At the beginning of the 2016 season, 33.3 percent of all head coaches were people of color, which was a decrease from the 43.3 percent recorded at the commencement of 2013-2014. Black coaching numbers still lag a full 10 percent behind the numbers from 2013-14 when it seemed as if we were moving towards a league in which the head coaches would be 50 percent African-American.

People of color represented 30.0 percent of all NBA head coaches at the start of the 2017-18 season, which is the same representation as in the two previous seasons. However, with the changes at the end of the season, there was an additional coach of color making it 33 percent.

While the philosophes and inherent racism that exists towards African-American job candidates by white owners cant fully be captured within a statistical report, there’s an increasing willingness by NBA owners and a commitment by the league to provide minorities an opportunity to attain leadership positions. The Reports Racial Hiring grade for NBA Team VPs, Team Assistant Coaches and Team Management all increased in 2017-18 and reflects this upward trend.

Currently, players of color stand at 80.7 %, Head Coaches of color stand at 30 %, people of color comprise 20 % of the NBA’s General Managers and 24.4 % of Team VPs are people of color.

Overall the NBA received an A + for its diversity initiatives, but a lot of work still needs to be done in the way of Black ownership and front office positions for the league to pat itself on the back as doing anything extraordinary.

Right now, they are still trying to even out an uneven playing field.

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