Three Leagues, 92 Teams And Only One Black Principal Owner

Source: Mona Chalabi/FiveThirtyEight

Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, has collated and published statistics on the demographics of most major sports leagues. In October, Lapchick published data on diversity in the NBA, the NFL and MLB in 2013. We’ve pulled the numbers to show how the diversity of the NBA’s ownership structure differs from that of the players — and from other professional sports leagues’ makeups.

In 2013, 76.3 percent of NBA players were African-American. The fraction of African-Americans shrinks as we move up the management chain; 43.3 percent of NBA coaches were black compared with just 2 percent of the league’s majority owners (of the NBA’s 49 majority owners, Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Bobcats was the only person of color, according to Lapchick’s data).

Likewise, save for one owner (Shahid Khan, the Pakistani-born owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars), the majority owners in the NFL were all white, according to Lapchick. In 2013, about one-third of NFL players were white, and two-thirds were African-American.

And again: Save for one owner (Arturo Moreno of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), all of MLB’s majority owners were white. Latinos made up almost a third of MLB players — the highest percentage of the three leagues.

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