NBA expands diversity trend, hires female leaders

Michele Roberts has been named the new Executive Director of the NBA Players Association.

Michele Roberts has been named the new Executive Director of the NBA Players Association.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The San Antonio Spurs expanded the diversity trend in the National Basketball Association (NBA) when the team hired former WNBA player Becky Hammon to be an assistant coach coach. Hammon became the first woman to be employed full-time as an assistant coach in the NBA or any other major team sport. Hammon made it clear that she does not feel her gender played a role in her hiring.

“It’s never been about the woman thing, it’s been about hey, she’s got a great basketball mind. We think she’d be a great addition to our program,” she said at the news conference announcing her hiring on August 5, 2014.

The  San Antonio Spurs hired former WNBA player Becky Hammon based on her basketball IQ.

The San Antonio Spurs hired former WNBA player Becky Hammon based on her basketball IQ.

This comes on the heels of the NBA Players Association (NBPA) selecting Michele Roberts to be their new executive director. Roberts, who is a renowned trial attorney, was named to her new position on July’ 29, 2014 ahead of 300 potential candidates. Roberts grew up a New York Knicks fan while being raised in that city. She rooted for the Washington D.C. team and worked for years in that city. Now Roberts has a new affiliation again extolling, “My new favorite team is the NBPA.”

Roberts made her name as a trial attorney in Washington D.C. and will use her skill in negotiations on behalf of the NBPA.

Roberts made her name as a trial attorney in Washington D.C. and will use her skill in negotiations on behalf of the NBPA.

 

These two new additions to the NBA family illustrate a more inclusive view towards women, yet there is still a long way to go to consider all opportunities equal. However, the NBA has taken more steps in allowing women to prove themselves in that league than in any of the other major team sports.

Violet Palmer has been an NBA referee since 1997 and remains the lone female referee in the NBA.

Violet Palmer has been an NBA referee since 1997 and remains the lone female referee in the NBA.

In 1997 the NBA hired Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner as referees amid plenty of opposition from some fans and players alike. Palmer is still a referee in the NBA and has done so for the WNBA as well. Palmer remains the lone female referee in major team sports and added another first to her resume when she refereed the 2014 NBA All-Star game.

 

What stands out even more than the opportunity to earn and prove in the NBA for these women is the authoritative positions they hold. None of these ladies hold a more powerful position than Jeanie Buss, part-owner and president of the Los Angeles Lakers. Buss recognizes the full scope of her position, sharing during an interview:

“I’m the boss, I am responsible ultimately for anything with the team and decisions that are made…I empower people that are in positions to do their jobs…But it’s up to them to make day-to-day decisions on how they operate their area of the business.”

Jeanie Buss is part-owner and president of one the most storied franchises in sports, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jeanie Buss is part-owner and president of one the most storied franchises in sports, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ultimately, these women provide plenty of ideas of new positions for women to strive towards and surpass. While there will continue to be a debate about women’s opportunities in male dominated fields, it is also time to appreciate the positions that women have earned through hard work and dedication.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

My Brother’s Keeper initiative expands with funding, support (Part II)

NBA Players Association president Chris Paul attended to announce the NBA's involvement in MBK and introduce President Obama to the crowd.

NBA Players Association President Chris Paul attended to announce the NBA’s involvement in My Brother’s Keeper (MBK ) and introduce President Obama to the crowd.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On July 21, President Obama provided another update about the progress he has made in attracting new support for the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative, which was launched earlier this year. Several new partnerships were announced to demonstrate the growth of the initiative since it has been signed earlier this year. Among the most recognizable partners announced was the NBA, who teamed up with MENTOR, to announce a five-year-commitment to the initiative.

President Obama addressed the crowd to share updates on the My Brother's Keeper initiative.

President Obama addressed the crowd to share updates on the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

NBA Players Association President Chris Paul, who plays for the Los Angeles Clippers, attended the event and shared his views on the importance of the initiative. Paul’s statement before he introduced President Obama to the audience said:

“This is our opportunity to stand together as athletes, parents, mentors, and as leaders in our communities, to show our young men and boys of color with our actions that we are behind them and that their success matters.”

President Obama surrounded by participants in the My Brothers Keeper Initiative when it was initially launched.

President Obama surrounded by participants in the My Brothers Keeper Initiative when it was initially launched.

Some other notable partners announced were AT&T, The College Board, Citi Foundation, and Discovery Communications. In total, over $100 million is expected to be contributed by the growing list of partners to the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. That makes roughly $300 million committed towards providing services, mentorship, and opportunities through the MBK initiative.

President Obama shared his personal experience as he announced the growing list of collaborators  to the MBK initiative.

President Obama shared his personal experience as he announced the growing list of collaborators to the MBK initiative.

President Obama shared his personal experiences as a way to further demonstrate the necessity for the program:

“When I was in my teens, I didn’t have a father in the house. It took me a while to realize that I was angry about that, and I acted out in some ways. I was raised by a single mom. We didn’t have a lot in terms of wealth, although we had a lot of love in the house and my grandparents helped out. But despite their best efforts, sometimes I made some bad choices. I didn’t always take school as serious as I should have. I made excuses sometimes for misbehavior. The only difference between me and extraordinarily talented young men that I see all across the country is I was living in a pretty forgiving environment.

President Obama is joined by his adviser Valerie jarett and US Attorney Eric Holder in discussing the importance of My Brothers Keeper.

President Obama is joined by his adviser Valerie Jarrett and US Attorney Eric Holder in discussing the importance of My Brothers Keeper.

So that’s why, earlier this year, we launched what we call My Brother’s Keeper. My Brother’s Keeper isn’t some new, big government program. It’s actually a team effort. It’s all about a whole bunch of folks — educators, business leaders, faith leaders, foundations, government — all working together to give boys and young men of color the tools that they need to succeed and make sure that every young person can reach their potential. And so the reason that we’re here today is to announce some of the pledges that have already been made, some of the commitments that have already been made by a series of institutions that just give you a sense of the kind of progress and excitement that we’ve seen since we launched this initiative.”–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.