To view the entire report card for the NBA on race and gender, Please click here


Highlights from the Report (released by the press representative for the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport):


· In the NBA, 82 percent of the players were people of color, remaining constant from last year’s totals. This ties the highest percentage of players of color since the 1994-95 season. The percentage of African-American players also remained constant from last year’s report at 77 percent. The percentage of Latinos and Asians remained constant, at three and one percent respectively. The percentage of international players stayed steady as well at 18 percent.

· Professional opportunities for people of color in the NBA League Offices – at 36 percent – increased from 35 percent for the 2008-09 season. This is the highest percentage in the NBA’s history and the highest in the history of any professional sport.

· Women held 44 percent of the professional positions in the NBA League Office. This increased by one percentage point from the previous Report Card and was higher than any other men’s professional league in any previous Report Card though still below the NBA’s high of 49 percent female professionals in the league office in 1995-96.

· There were 34 women in vice president positions in the NBA League Office during the 2009-10 NBA season, which is an increase of three.

· Michael Jordan, who owns the NBA Charlotte Bobcats, is men’s pro sports only African-American team majority owner. He succeeded Robert Johnson, previous owner of the Bobcats.

· There were one Asian and eight African-American head coaches at the beginning of the 2009-10 NBA season. The percentage of head coaches of color dropped from 40 percent in 2008-09 to 30 percent.

· 41 percent of assistant coaches in the NBA were coaches of color.

· While there were small decreases for people of color in key team positions, the NBA was still the best in men’s pro sport for team presidents, senior administrative and professional administrative positions

· At the beginning of the 2009-10 regular season, there were four (12 percent) African-American presidents in the NBA. While it was a decrease from last year’s total of five, it was still the best for any sport.

· The percentage of people of color holding NBA team senior administrative positions decreased by two percentage points from last season to less than 21 percent.

· The percentage of people of color holding team professional administrative positions dropped by two percentage points to 27 percent. The percentage of women holding these posts dropped from 40 percent to 39 percent.

· As of the end of the 2009-10 season, 56 percent of the NBA’s referees were white, 41 percent were African-American and three percent were Latino. Of the 60 referees, one was a woman.




From the comfort of my couch I send a shout-out to Alex Wolff, my distinguished Sports Illustrated colleague who has been covering the Redeem Team. Alex’s assignment was easier than mine was in 2004 (when covering Team Bad Vibe in Athens was about as pleasurable as getting a root canal) but more difficult than the task in 1992, when chronicling the Dream Team consisted mainly of ferreting out Charles Barkley‘s post-midnight agenda on Barcelona’s famed Las Ramblas.

Like the veteran knuckleballer, I’ve been summoned from the bullpen to perform the obvious — compare the Redeem Team to the Dream Team. Not in terms of global popularity (no matter how many times you’ve seen Kobe Bryant mobbed by Chinese fans, it doesn’t compare to the Elvis-is-in-the-building treatment extended to Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, et al.). And not in terms of public comportment during the Games (the ’08 team has earned points by showing up at some athletic events, unlike the Dreamers, who, Barkley excepted, mostly stayed in and bonded at their luxury hotel). We’re talking strictly basketball.


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Even the joyous scene which followed the U.S. men’s basketball team’s thrilling 118-107 gold-medal victory against Spain was as selfless as the play which had defined their Olympic performance.

They gathered in a circle, arms draped around each other’s shoulders. On the podium, they stood arm in arm. Posing for pictures, they put all their medals around coach Mike Krzyzewski’s neck and then mussed his mostly unmovable hair. They did the same to the assistant coaches, even ruffling Jim Boeheim’s mostly non-existent hair.

Though Team USA had dominated these Games, winning by an average of 28 points, though they had beaten Spain by 37 points in pool play, Spain, even without injured point guard Jose Calderon challenged the U.S. until the final moments. Krzyzewski called it “one of the great games in international basketball history,” at least in recent U.S. history.

When Spain, the defending world champions, closed to within two points with 8:13 remaining on a Rudy Fernandez three-pointer, the U.S. didn’t flinch. “I think when you’re in the NBA and a team comes within two you’re confident you can make a play,” said Dwyane Wade, who led the U.S. with 27 points. “When we’re on this team and a team comes within two, you’re confident anyone can make a play. You’re not necessarily worried.”

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Tom Crean

Tom Crean, head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers, just signed a 10-year deal for $23.6M.  Crean is yet another coach made into a millionaire by the NCAA.  However, those who go out on the court and earn the money, the players are paid nothing.  Additionally, many cite as racist the rules the NBA and NFL have that force players to play in college for at least 1 year before they can go pro.  Some argue that this rule is only in place to keep black players on the court and the field so billions can be earned from them for free.  Tennis, hockey and baseball players, on the other hand, have no such limitation.



The best USA Basketball team in eight years is the result of previous mistakes in judgment. Over the preceding three major international competitions, the American men have failed to win an Olympic or world championship gold medal because they lacked shooting, chemistry and preparation time together.

That’s why managing director Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski have made zone-busting shooting the priority while assembling a team of stars capable of helping one another. The team’s enhanced training schedule of the last three years has emphasized the importance of the mission.

“Because of the work that was done by Colangelo, Krzyzewski and everyone else, now we have the feeling that the Americans will win this time,” said Ettore Messina, the coach of Euroleague champion CSKA Moscow and a former coach of the Italian national team. “We are back to the way it was 10 years ago. I am not saying this team is like the one you had in 1992, but it is very close to that. We feel that you are much more serious this time than you were in recent years. So now people [competing against Team USA] are back to thinking about second place again, and this will help the Americans.”

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The words of Michael Jordan when asked why he wouldn’t endorse progressive Democrat Harvey Gantt are, for me, one of the great stains on his escutcheon. While a man has a right to keep his political views private, Mike was roundly criticised for the comment, and for good reason. Gantt was running against Jesse Helms, a politician considered one of the last segregationists in the Senate who repeatedly voted against civil rights measures and once mounted a sixteen-day filibuster in an attempt to prevent Martin Luther King’s birthday from being recognised as a national holiday. Even so, Jordan chose not to take a stance, instead countering with a statement perceived as cynical and driven by financial concern.

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