Half Of NBA's Head Coaches Are Black: 'Last 2 Years Changed Everything'

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Two

Head coach Ime Udoka of the Boston Celtics looks on during the second quarter against the Miami Heat in Game Two of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals.Photo: Getty Images North America

The NBA has reached a huge milestone this season: for the first time, half of the head coaches for teams are Black, according to ABC News.

Reporters say eight coaching jobs have been filled by Black candidates within the last 12 months, including Los Angeles Lakers' Darvin Ham, Boston Celtics' Ime Udoka, and Orlando's Jamahl Mosley. These hires are joining the current seven Black head coaches.

What's interesting about some of these hires is that they've been considered "can't-miss" names with high potential, yet it took years for them to actually land their position.

"For many years qualified young coaches of color like Ime Udoka, Jamahl Mosley, Willie Green, Wes Unseld Jr., Darvin Ham and Stephen Silas, to name just a few, were not getting consistent opportunities to interview for NBA head coaching positions,” Indiana coach Rick Carlisle, the president of the National Basketball Coaches Association, told reporters. "The last two years changed everything. The league office has tirelessly made franchises more aware of the qualifications and journeys of these talented young coaches. This increased awareness has led to qualified coaches of all backgrounds having greater opportunity to interview and the numbers speak for themselves."

While the NBA could still improve when it comes to diversity in front-office positions and team ownership, experts say they're performing better than other American pro sports leagues. The most prominent example is the NFL, which has been rocked by accusations of racist hiring practices.

The NBA also established the Coaches Equality Initiative back in February 2019, way before the murder of George Floyd and the renewed attention toward racial disparities in every facet of American life.

“In terms of diversity, we discuss it all the time,” Silver said earlier this year. “We’ve made more progress in other areas. And in terms of CEOs on the business side of teams, we would absolutely love to see more progress there. ... No doubt, that’s an area we can do a better job.”

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