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Volume 23 No. 14
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NBA again leads other leagues in racial, gender hiring efforts

The NBA again leads the sports industry in racial and gender hiring, with high grades assigned to the league by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.

The league scored an A+ in racial hiring and a B in gender hiring for an overall A grade in the 2019 NBA Racial and Gender Report Card compiled by the institute known as TIDES. The grades were the same as last year and rank the highest among men’s sports for racial and gender hiring practices.

The annual report card tracks gender and diversity among all owners, general managers, players, coaches and full-time, front-office staff from all 30 NBA teams as well as all professional staff at the NBA’s New York headquarters. It does not include WNBA or G League team staff in its hiring analysis. TIDES produces the same reports for MLB, the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLS, college sports and sports media.

“For three decades the NBA has been out front,” said Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the report and director of TIDES. “They continue to have leadership from the top of the league and at the individual team level.”

But Lapchick also pointed to a slight drop in gender hiring to 80.9 points this year from 81.1 points in 2018, though the dip did not change the league’s gender grade of a B.

“It is one area of concern, but no one is close to them on race,” Lapchick said.

The NBA earned an A- for racial hiring of general managers at the team level and a B+ for vice presidents at the team level. Noteworthy is that the NBA now has seven women in the CEO/president role, more than all other professional sports leagues combined, according to the study. 

“Overall they are the best in both categories,” Lapchick said of the NBA’s racial and gender grades. “I continue to be impressed with the leadership and how it is communicated down.” 

The league also earned top scores for its diversity initiatives, which this year includes a new training program focused on inclusive recruiting, development and retention practices led by Oris Stuart, chief diversity and inclusion officer for the NBA.

“It is a class that we delivered across all of the teams and focuses on looking at every step of the recruiting process and identifying ways that bias can creep into the process,” Stuart said. “It was well received. We are making progress for sure. The results speak for themselves.”