+
Identity

Half of the head coaches in the NBA are now Black

More great progress in the world of sports.

black basketball coaches, nba, head coaches, ime udoka

Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is one of eight new Black head coaches in the NBA.

It’s been almost 60 years since Bill Russell became the first Black head coach in the NBA. In the years since, there have been 260 regular coaches that have come and gone, and only 1 in 3 have been Black. Most of them haven’t lasted more than three years in their first job—they also haven’t gotten a chance to have another head coaching position. But the times they are a-changin'. Currently, 15 of the 30 head coaches in the NBA are Black. And it’s about time.

Boston’s Ime Udoka, Sacramento’s Mike Brown, Portland’s Chauncey Billups, Dallas’ Jason Kidd, Orlando’s Jamahl Mosley, Washington’s Wes Unseld Jr., New Orleans’ Willie Green and Los Angeles’ Darvin Ham are the eight newest full-time head coaches in the NBA. They join Detroit’s Dwane Casey, Phoenix’s Monty Williams, Cleveland’s J.B. Bickerstaff, Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Tyronn Lue, Houston’s Stephen Silas and Atlanta’s Nate McMillan, who were all head coaches last year.

“It means a lot,” Brown, who will take over as head coach in Sacramento next season after finishing the current season as the assistant coach for Golden State, said.


“When my son, and my oldest son’s about to have his first son, when they turn on the TV and they see people that look like them leading an NBA team on the sidelines, it can be inspiring. For me, carrying the torch and then passing it to the next generation is something that I think about often — not just for my family, but for others out there.”

The last time there were this many Black head coaches in the NBA was the 2012-13 season. There has been no explanation as to why it took almost 10 years to get back to that number, but there are some theories.

“This is not a sports issue,” Nate McMillan, the head coach for the Atlanta Hawks said back in February. “It’s a society issue that the opportunities sometimes certain people, they don’t get the opportunities because of the color of their skin.”

He also gave credit to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for making sure the organization has not only a Black head coach (Jason Kidd) but other Black people in the room. Aside from Kidd, there are three prominent Black people in the organization: Cynt Marshall (chief executive officer), Nico Harrison (general manager and president of basketball operations) and Michael Finley (assistant general manager and assistant vice-president of basketball operations). Marshall is the first Black female CEO in the history of the NBA.

“I think that’s just what Mark has done is really open his mind to interviewing people and giving them an opportunity where they have the skills to fit into those positions. They’ve done well and I think that’s great,” said McMillan.

According to the site Statista, 73.2% of the players in the NBA are Black, and that’s not including ones who identify as more than one race because it doesn’t do an interracial breakdown. In a league where almost three-quarters of the players are Black, it only makes sense that the head coaching staff be reflective of what you’re seeing on the court. Not just for optics, but for a general kind of understanding that may not exist otherwise.

While Steve Kerr is a great example of an white ally who “gets it,” there are certain experiences that he just won’t understand on anything other than a deep level of empathy. But a coach like McMillian or Ime Udoka, head coach of the Boston Celtics, will understand in a different way. When things happen in Black America, a Black coach is going to be able to do more than empathize—they will be able to sit in that space with their players.

“I don’t understand what took so long, to be honest,” Jaylen Brown, guard for the Celtics said in an AP article.

That’s the real question here. Why did it take so long for half of the league’s coaches to be Black? In February 2019, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Chief People and Inclusion Officer Oris Stuart and President of Social Responsibility and Player Programs Kathy Behrens met with Rick Carlisle, Indiana coach and president of the National Basketball Coaches Association. After that meeting, the NBA Coaches Equality Initiative was created to address the inequity.

“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,” Carlisle said. “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.”

Commissioner Silver is aware of the inequity still facing the NBA. Many basketball organizations still don’t have Black people in the front office. Legendary basketball player Michael Jordan is the only Black principal owner of a sport’s franchise, the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets currently have an open coaching spot, and hopefully it'll go to another Black coach.

For Mike Brown, “the dream” is to get to a point where 50% of head coaches being Black isn’t something worth talking about. If the league keeps up its current hiring practices, maybe it could happen.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

Dyslexic plumber gets a life-changing boost after his friend built an app that texts for him

It uses AI to edit his work emails into "polite, professional-sounding British English."

via Pixabay

An artist's depiction of artificial intelligence.

There is a lot of mistrust surrounding the implementation of artificial intelligence these days and some of it is justified. There's reason to worry that deep-fake technology will begin to seriously blur the line between fantasy and reality, and people in a wide range of industries are concerned AI could eliminate their jobs.

Artists and writers are also bothered that AI works on reappropriating existing content for which the original creators will never receive compensation.

The World Economic Forum recently announced that AI and automation are causing a huge shake-up in the world labor market. The WEF estimates that the new technology will supplant about 85 million jobs by 2025. However, the news isn’t all bad. It also said that its analysis anticipates the “future tech-driven economy will create 97 million new jobs.”

The topic of AI is complex, but we can all agree that a new story from England shows how AI can certainly be used for the betterment of humanity. It was first covered by Tom Warren of BuzzFeed News.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

Keep ReadingShow less

Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

Keep ReadingShow less