Troy Weaver is the NBA’s first minority higher to a leadership position, post-George Floyd and the age of global enlightenment involving the historical abuse of Black people at the hands of police and the systemic racism that runs rampant throughout our country’s major industries.
The 52-year-old Weaver’s hire as Detroit Pistons’ general manager comes on the heels of massive protests around the country and coincidentally meets one of the demands that the NBA Players Coalition had for the league before a restart could occur — improved racial equality and minority representation in hiring practices.
No minor feat for the Pistons: Pistons front office has gotten whiter and whiter last several years. Troy Weaver, a black man, coming in with full authority is a huge change for ownership.
Best decision Tom Gores has made since becoming owner in 2011
— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) June 18, 2020
During the COVID-19 shutdown, the number of African-American general managers increased to seven with the Chicago Bulls’ hiring of former 76ers senior vice president of personnel Marc Eversley. Eversley replaced long -time GM Gar Forman, who played a major part in personnel decisions since 2009.
Like Eversley, Weaver takes over a franchise that is legendary in NBA anals but has currently been struggling to acquire talent and compete with the elite squads.
Weaver becomes the 8th Black GM in the NBA and despite the fact that he’s joining a Detroit Pistons organization with three NBA championships during two golden eras – The Bad Boys of the late 1980s and early 1990s and The Goin’ to Work Pistons that reached six consecutive conference finals from 2003-2008 –he has his work cut out for him.
The Pistons have been one of the NBA’s worst teams, reaching the playoffs only twice in the past 11 seasons. They haven’t won a playoff game since 2008.
Weaver, a 10-year front-office executive with the Oklahoma City Thunder, will try to perform a miracle with Ed Stefanski and lift the Pistons out of the doldrums and back to respectability.
At the very least, Weaver is another Black person with the opportunity to run an NBA team at the executive level.
The fact that just nine out of 30 NBA teams have Black General Managers is still a black eye for the NBA. That’s just 30 percent of the total jobs. In a league that according to the TIDES annual NBA Racial and Gender Report Card (2019), is 81.9 percent, people of color, the number of African-American front office executives continues to be underrepresented.
It was just 1972 when Wayne Embry was named the general manager of the Bucks, becoming the first black GM in major American professional sports. Almost a half-century later and we are having the same conversations.
And as long as that’s the case, the culture of all-white ownership, leadership, and Commissioners will continue to create an oppressive working relationship, regardless of how individual player salaries balloon.
The good news is that the NBA is moving closer to having 10 Black general managers for the first time in history. The First 10. That will be a historic day.