Founded in 1946, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men’s professional basketball league composed of 30 teams (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada). It is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, and is widely considered to be the premier men’s professional basketball league in the world.
The NBA is the only top North American sport that does not have a white majority audience. In 2017, 47% of NBA viewers were Black, 34% were White, 11% were Hispanic, and 8% were Asian.
TMZ reports, June 3, 2019, that “high-ranking sources” from multiple NBA teams told TMZ Sports that they’ve had “high-level conversations about doing away with the term ‘owner’ over the past year” because the term “feels racially insensitive” in a league where the majority of players are black.
At least two NBA teams have already made the switch:
- The Philadelphia 76ers changed their titles from Owners to Managing Partners, and Co-owners are now called Limited Partners.
- In Los Angeles, Steve Ballmer — who was billed as Owner for the first couple of years after he took over the Clippers — is now listed as Chairman on the team’s website.
The “conversations” about getting rid of the term “owner” gained steam in late 2018 when Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green appeared on LeBron James‘ show, “The Shop”. Green said, “You shouldn’t say owner,” and proposed that the title be changed to either CEO, Chairman or Majority Shareholder.
“Racially oppressed” Draymond Green receives annual salary of $16.4 million and has an estimated net worth of $20 million.
Ironically, Draymond’s team — the Golden State Warriors — still lists Joe Lacob as the owner of that team.
TMZ was told there’s no real pressure coming from the NBA to change their titles. A spokesperson spokesperson said: “We refer to the owners of our teams as Governors; each team is represented on our Board of Governors.”
Former basketball player Michael Jordan, who’s black, is the principal owner and chairman of the NBA team Charlotte Hornets. Does he get to keep the title “owner”?
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