The NBA is dominated by black players, but the executive teams? The lack of black leadership in the NBA is nothing new. One team that is leading the way in having the most executives of color is the New York Knicks.
The Knicks not only have the lone African American president of basketball operations and general manager combinations in the NBA (Scott Perry is the general manager and Steve Mills is the president), but, according to The Undefeated, they also lead a front office with several blacks in prominent positions.
Speaking on the diversity of his executive team, Steve Mills told The Undefeated, “To be honest with you, it didn’t hit me until I read a story that we are the only two blacks. I’m serious. It didn’t even hit me. That wasn’t what this was about. This was about me finding someone I wanted to work with that I thought approached things the same way, not that you have to be lockstep with everything, because you should bring different experiences to the table.”
Mills and Perry have a lot in common. They are both former bankers and former college basketball players.
From 2010-2016, only six of the positions for president of basketball operations and general manager were filled by black people. In comparison, 75% of NBA’s players are of color.
“This is an issue that is very important to the league and me personally,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum told The Undefeated in 2016. “This league has a long history of inclusion at all levels, whether that is at the coaching level, the management level and certainly at the league level. That has been a result of the most senior level people of our organization and with our teams as well. There are guys out there that have the capability, clearly, to [perform in executive and management roles] who will get opportunities.”
The Knicks have the following black executives in high positions outside of Mills and Perry:
- Gerald Madkins- Assistant General Manager
- Allan Houston: Assistant General Manager, G Leauge Westchester Knicks General Manager
- Harold Ellis: Player Personnel Director
- Craig Robinson: Vice President for Player and Organizational Development