News & Politics

NBA Teams Consider Ditching the Term 'Owner' Because It Feels 'Racially Insensitive'

NBA Teams Consider Ditching the Term 'Owner' Because It Feels 'Racially Insensitive'
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban walks off of the court after a game against the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday, April 7, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

A number of NBA teams have been considering ditching the term “owner” and high-level conversations have taken place over the past year, according to a report from TMZ.


These conversations have focused on the idea that the term “owner” feels racially insensitive in a league that is predominantly made up of black players.

Several high-ranking sources from multiple teams tell us people have been talking about the issue for a while but it gained steam in late 2018 when Draymond Green appeared on LeBron James’ show, “The Shop,” and argued against teams using the term.

“You shouldn’t say owner,” Green said … noting the title should be changed to either CEO, Chairman or something like Majority Shareholder.

During the show, Jon Stewart agreed and explained, “When your product is purely the labor of people then owner sounds like something that is of a feudal nature.”

Two teams have already made the change. The Philadelphia 76ers changed their titles from “owners” to “managing partners” and “co-owners” to limited partners.” The Los Angeles Clippers refer to their owner as “chairman” now.

“Chairman” isn’t gender neutral, so I’m sure that will change soon enough.

Most teams are still using the term “owner” and are currently not being pressured to make the change. However, the league itself has changed its term for team owners to something they consider more racially sensitive. “We refer to the owners of our teams as Governors; each team is represented on our Board of Governors,” an NBA spokesman told TMZ.


According to a recent report, the average annual salary of NBA players for the 2018-19 season is $6.38 million, with the league minimum ranging from $838,464 to $2.39 million. In a league full of millionaires, it’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that the alleged racial insensitivity over the word “owner” is even being discussed when the players are paid so well for playing. The NBA has been a majority black league for many years, so why is this suddenly an issue now? Maybe the real answer is more diversity on the teams, not Orwellian nitpicking over language.


Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in July 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis

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