By Andrew Nappi
The United States has come a long way when it comes to racism. Two hundred years ago, black people where considered property. They where owned by the rich southern plantation owners as slaves. Today, there is a black president running our country. Although racism is still present, it certainly has improved and continues to improve every day.
There were many different black people in this country that helped break the race barrier. One of the black people that helped break the barrier was Jackie Robinson. Robinson was a professional baseball player for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was the first black athlete to play in professional sports. After this, other black athlete began to follow in Jackie’s footsteps. Earl Llyod became the first black athlete to play in an NBA game.
Since Llyod broke the race barrier in professional basketball, many other black basketball players followed in his footsteps. Today, three fourths of the NBA is black. Since the NBA has such a large black population, its players are very involved in movements to help end racism. Below is a photo of Kobe Bryant wearing the “I Can’t Breathe” shirt to protest the death of Eric Garner.
Although the league is primarily black, one might be surprised to find out that the NBA does not have a lot of black coaches. At the start of the 2015-2016 NBA season, there were only seven black coaches in the league. This is the lowest number of black coaches the league has seen in a long time. “From 2001-2014, the NBA averaged 11 black head coaches per season—easily the most diverse era in league history. On opening night in 2012, half of the NBA’s 30 head coaches were people of color, including 14 black coaches, an all-time high.” (Beck) So what caused a sudden drop in black coaches?
The number of black coaches fired since the start of the 2012-2013 NBA season is staggering. Although the number is high, all of the coaches had something in common. Out of the thirteen black coaches fired since the 2012-2013 NBA season, eleven of them played in the NBA. While the other two that didn’t play in the NBA played basketball in college.
Just because these coaches played in the NBA, doesn’t mean they will be good NBA coaches. Out of the thirteen coaches that where fired, eleven of them where fired because they posted below five hundred records. Only two coaches where fired due to under preforming. One of those coaches fired for under preforming was Mark Jackson.
Jackson was fired form the Golden State Warriors after he could not bring the team to the second round of the playoffs. After Jackson was fired. The Warriors then decided to hire Steve Kerr who previously announced basketball games for TNT. In Kerr’s rookie season as a head coach, he led the Warriors to the NBA finals. The Warriors ended up winning the 2015 NBA finals in six games over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Since the 2012-2013 NBA season, most of the head-coaching hiring’s have been college coaches, video coordinators and international coaches. All of these coaches had no previous NBA playing experience. This trend might explain the reason for the shortage of black coaches in the NBA since almost all of the black coaches in the NBA where former players.
The NBA is not the only sports league with race issues at the head-coaching Position. Below is a video of ESPN’s First take where Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless debate about the shortage of black coaches in college football.