Three years after the Atlanta Hawks hired the NBA’s first chief diversity officer, the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to add a similar executive role to their front office as diversity efforts grow within the league.
The Cavs are searching for a vice president of inclusion and engagement, a new position that team executives said is needed considering their ongoing diversity and inclusive efforts.
The Philadelphia 76ers are also looking to fill such a role, according to an NBA team source. Team executives refused to comment.
The Cavs’ search comes after the Atlanta Hawks hired Nzinga Shaw in December 2014, becoming the first team to hire an executive dedicated exclusively to organizational diversity and inclusion efforts. In 2015, the NBA hired Oris Stuart as the league’s chief diversity and inclusion officer.
The team’s diversity and inclusion executive will work across the company’s holdings that includes the Cavs, the AHL Cleveland Monsters, and G League’s Canton Charge, and the Arena Football League’s Cleveland Gladiators.
The team is not using a search firm to fill the position.
“We’ve had a number of team leaders who have been engaged and will continue to be, but this will be someone who will be 100 percent focused and will build off where we are,” said Len Komoroski, CEO of the Cavs who declined to disclose any timetable on the hire.
The Cavs said the team ranked in the top five in the 30-team league for both percentage of minority full-time staff and women full-time staff in 2016. The 2017 rankings have not yet been released. Of the 2,500 jobs across the entire Cavs organization, 34 percent of the full-time staff were minorities, but it hits 49 percent when combining full and part-time staff.
The expected hire comes as the NBA and the entire sports industry spotlights diversity and inclusion efforts. The NBA last month named the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors as winners of the NBA’s inaugural inclusion awards.
Komoroski added that the increased spotlight on inclusion is not related to workplace issues or to the #MeToo movement.
“We’ve been talking about this for quite a while,” he said. “It’s been a matter of building off an area of strength.”