Arthur Mola/Associated Press
Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri opened up about the lack of black people and minorities in NBA front offices during an appearance on The Woj Pod with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (h/t Josh Weinstein of The Score):
“Somebody told me there’s only one minority (public relations) director in the NBA. How is it that we only have this few when it’s a predominantly black league in terms of players?
“I really question it and I think we generally in sports … we have to really look at this and it comes from all different levels. It’s not just hiring a diversity and inclusion officer now … we also need more minorities and more black people in higher positions, too, and there are many that deserve to be in higher positions if we look the right way.”
He is not the only one to raise such concerns of late.
ESPN’s Malika Andrews and Wojnarowski reported the players coalition that Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving and Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley helped create in an effort to give players a voice raised similar questions.
According to the report, the coalition is looking for progress in areas such as “improved hiring practices for black front-office and head-coaching candidates—making it so the league’s management better reflects its composition of players; donations to organizations serving black communities; and partnerships with black-owned businesses and arena vendors.”
That coalition also raised concerns about restarting the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Florida, on July 30 because it may serve as a distraction from the national focus on systemic racism and police brutality.
The NBA released a statement saying “a central goal of our season restart will be to utilize the NBA’s platform to bring attention and sustained action to issues of social injustice,” per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium:
On the court, Ujiri’s Raptors have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 46-18.
Even without Kawhi Leonard, they figure to pose a difficult challenge for any team in the playoffs as they look to defend their title.