The NBA continues to set the standard in the sports industry for providing opportunities to minorities and women.
The league received an A+ for racial hiring practices, an A- for gender hiring practices, and an A for an overall grade in the 2012 NBA Racial and Gender Report Card released Tuesday by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida.
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.”
Lapchick said this was a breakthrough year for people of Asian descent in the NBA with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, a Filipino-American, becoming the first coach of Asian descent to win a championship in a major men’s sport.
In addition, the Knicks’ Jeremy Lin became a world-wide sensation before an injury cut his season short, and Rich Cho was hired as general manager of the Bobcats.
“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,” Lapchick said.
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.
Among general managers and top player personnel executives, 26 percent of these positions were held by persons 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.