Many NBA teams are considering retiring the “owner” title.
It has been a high-level conversation in the league for over a year now, stemming from the racial undertone it can have for the primarily Black NBA players. Some teams have already made the decision to stop using the term “owner” in reference to the top manager.
The Philadelphia 76ers have changed their owner’s title to managing partner and co-owners are now called limited partners. The Los Angeles Clippers have also joined the ranks and is now calling its owner chairman, TMZ reports.
The hype around the “owner” conversation gained buzz last year when NBA player Draymond Green appeared on Lebron James‘ show The Shop and said, “You shouldn’t say owner,” also suggesting the title should be changed to either CEO, chairman or majority shareholder.
Actor and rapper Common agrees with Green. “I’m so pleased,” Common told TMZ. “The term owner — it didn’t sit right with me.”
“The history of what we have and we are as black people in this country … it’s just not really being considerate of the history.”
Common added how impressed he was with NBA commissioner Adam Silver for referring to one team’s majority investor as “Governor” instead of “owner.”
Civil Rights activist Al Sharpton was also excited that the NBA wants to do away with the term because it too closely mirrors slavery.
“Many of the NBA players are descendants of people that were enslaved,” Sharpton told TMZ. “When we hear the term owner, it’s a much different connotation than other people.”
Sharpton added the league should want to make their players feel comfortable since they’re the money makers.
“I think that if you want to respect people that are making you a lot of money, you ought to be sensitive and how they are relating to you and how they want a title that doesn’t make them uncomfortable”
Although the talks around the term “owner” are shifting things in the NBA, Green’s team — the Golden State Warriors — still lists Joe Lacob as its owner. TMZ got in touch with the Warriors and they explained, “We refer to the owners of our teams as Governors; each team is represented on our Board of Governors.”