The NBA remains the best among its professional sports peers when it comes diversity hiring.
According to the report released Thursday by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, the NBA received an A-plus for the second year in a row for racial hiring and dropped to a B in gendering hiring practices. The league's overall grade of A was its eighth in row as the NBA scored higher than other professional sports league in all three categories.
Reports are also issued on the NFL, MLB, MLS, WNBA and college sports.
The NBA has "been the leaders in pretty much both areas since we've been doing the report card and they are still ahead of everybody even in gender," said Richard Lapchick, who authors the Racial and Gender Report Card released by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. "The NFL had a C-plus last year and MLB had a C-plus. MLS is the only one close with a B but they only had 80.1 points as opposed to the 83.7 the NBA has got. College sport was the worst of all with 78.8 points with a C-plus."
Even in maintaining the best stands, the NBA did some dips in diversity hiring practices with the biggest coming in gender hiring. The NBA went from a B-plus grade in gendering hiring in 2015 to a B this year with drops coming at the team levels and senior leadership positions. In 2015, the NBA scored 88 points but this year only received 83.7 points on the report card.
Women comprised 39.6 per cent of all professionals in the NBA league offices in this past season, which was slightly down from 40.9 per cent in 2015. But women continued to hold just a small percentage of team vice-president positions, comprising just 21.5 per cent of the team vice-president titles. Still, there were five women who served as team presidents/CEO during the 2015-6 season, which is the highest of any men's professional sport.
"The fact there was sort of slippage with the NBA, not only was the grade low but there was actually a decline in the grade is definitely an area of concern," Lapchick said of the overall dip in gendering hiring. "I think it's particularly an area concern at the team level and senior leadership positions."
The NBA, which is the first sports league to have two minorities as majority owners, also had small loses in the number of head coaches and general managers of colour this year. The number of general managers went from six in 2014-15 to just four this past season. The head coaching ranks were comprised of 30 per cent of men of colour, as opposed to 33.3 per cent at the end of the 2014-15 season.
This past season began with nine head coaches of colour but while some minority coaches lost their jobs during the season that number remained at nine at the end of the season.
"The NBA has gotten it for a long time, including the general manager position, although this year they were down at the general manager position," Lapchick said. "They have been far and away the leader of all of the sports in those areas."