The NBA’s commitment to women may be an outgrowth of its investment in diversity more generally. “I tell these guys we have more in common than you think,” Lieberman told The New Yorker of how she relates to male basketball players. “Young Black men don’t want to be profiled, and old white women don’t want to be profiled.” More to the point: The NBA has more Democratic fans than any other sports league, excepting the WNBA. It boasts the highest Black television viewership of any professional sport, employs the bulk of the highest paid, highest profile Black athletes in the world, and routinely outplays the other sports on TIDES’s scorecard for racial diversity in hiring (this year, it earned an A-plus grade).
The NBA was home to the first Black owner of any major professional sports team (the Charlotte Bobcats’ Robert L. Johnson) and now hosts the only Black principal owner in any league (the Charlotte Hornets’ Michael Jordan). And this April, the NBA’s swift unseating of Clippers owner Donald Sterling confirmed the extent to which the league’s (mostly White) team owners are responsible to their (mostly Black) players.