Tonight Game 6 airs live. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors will duke it out to determine if Game 7 will happen. Currently, the score stands at 3-2 with the Warriors hoping that the Finals will conclude tonight with a Warriors win. The NBA finals are best four out of seven. Undoubtedly, tonight will be one for the history books. While you wait for the game to commence at 9pm EST, take a look at the NBA demographics — impress all of your buddies when you whip out these facts during half-time!
In 1947, the first non-white player entered the National Basketball Association (NBA), then known as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). Wataru “Wat” Misaka was a Japanese-American, 5-foot-7-inch point guard from Utah. He played three games for the New York Knicks in the 1947-48 season.
The demographics of the NBA have shifted drastically since the 1940s, as now the league has the highest percentage of African-American players of any major professional sports league in the United States and Canada.
In fact, according to internationally recognized expert on sports issues Richard Lapchick, the 2015 NBA was composed of 74.4% black, 23.3% white, 1.8% Latino, and 0.2% Asian players.
Regarding coaches, in 1966, Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics became the first non-white, African-American head coach in the NBA. Beginning in the late 1980s, NBA teams hired African-American coaches in large numbers. In the 2015-16 season, nevertheless, there were only seven African-American head coaches in the league — down 50% from three years earlier and the fewest in 16 years.
In regard to owners, Robert Johnson of the Charlotte Bobcats was the first African-American majority team owner during the 2004-05 NBA season. In the 2010-11 season, Michael Jordan succeeded Johnson. In 2013-14, Vivek Ranadive became the majority team owner of the Sacremento Kings; Ranadive is Indian. Thus, the 2013-14 season marked the first time in the history of American major league sports that two non-white individuals — Jordan and Ranadive — were majority owners.