Why the NBA Leads All Major Professional Sports in Diversity

Violet Palmer
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

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.

Newsletter

Sign up for the EBONY Newsletter

By subscribing, you agree to share your email address with EBONY to receive our weekly emails, events, and other updates. Please see our privacy policy for more information.

Newsletter

Sign up for the EBONY Newsletter

When you sign up for the EBONY newsletter, you’ll be the first to know about all the latest news and updates that are important to you. Gain access to exclusive interviews, videos, special events, and product giveaways delivered right to your inbox!

By subscribing, you agree to share your email address with EBONY to receive our weekly emails, events, and other updates. Please see our privacy policy for more information.