By CultureBanx Team
- Half of the NBA’s franchises, 15 of the 30, have Black head coaches
- The NBA projected it will bring in $10B in revenue
As the NBA gets ready to crown a new league champion, they’ve already had a huge win in the coaching arena. It’s the only U.S. professional sports league with 50% of its head coaches being African American. When it comes to diversity within the coaching ranks, eight coaching jobs have been filled by Black candidates in the last 12 months.
Why This Matters: Half the league’s franchises, 15 of the 30, have Black head coaches which is a great number. However, it’s important to note that more than 75% of the players are Black, but the majority of owners are white. Michael Jordan is the only Black majority owner in the NBA.
Is the league actually interested in taking on more diverse ownership? Perhaps they are, as the Brooklyn Nets were acquired by Joe Tsai, the co-founder of Alibaba (BABA +1.14%) for a record-breaking $2.35 billion. Previously, the team had the worst attendance in the league, but sold at the highest price tag to date.
A quick history lesson: It’s been nearly 60 years since Bill Russell broke the NBA coaching color barrier when he became the first Black man to coach a team; he accepted the role as player-coach of the Celtics starting with the 1966-67 season and won a championship in his second season.
There have been roughly 260 different coaches in the NBA, excluding short-term interim fill-ins, since Russell was hired, and 1 out of 3 of those coaches have been Black. But most of those Black coaches have either lasted in their first job no more than three years, or not gotten a second chance at leading a team.
Situational Awareness: The NBA projected it will bring in $10 billion in revenue as audiences return after Covid for for its 75th anniversary. League revenue slipped from $8.8 billion in 2018-19 to $8.3 billion for the 2019-20 season. The NBA hasn’t released revenue numbers for the shortened 72-game season in 2020-21.
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