NBA Commissioner Wants Half of New Refs and Coaches to Be Women

The league currently has three female referees and six female coaches

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. (Zach Gibson/Getty)
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. (Zach Gibson/Getty)
Getty Images

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a talk at The Economic Club of Washington D.C. that he wants more women to be hired for important positions within his league.

Silver, who had headed up the NBA for five years, called for more gender diversity in his league and said he envisions a future where half of the new coaching and referee hires are women.

“It’s an area, frankly, where I’ve acknowledged that I’m not sure how it was that it remained so male-dominated for so long. Because it’s an area of the game where physically, certainly, there’s no benefit to being a man, as opposed to a woman, when it comes to refereeing,” Silver said. “The goal is: Going forward, it should be roughly 50-50 of new officials entering in the league,” he said. “Same for coaches, by the way. We have a program, too. There’s no reason why women shouldn’t be coaching men’s basketball.”

With one female referee working in the league previously, two of the past five refs added from the developmental G League were women, meaning the league now has three female officials in all.

That number is a little higher with regard to coaches as there are six female coaches in the NBA. One of them, San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, interviewed for the vacant Milwaukee Bucks head coaching position when it was open. Though she didn’t get the job, it was a positive sign for the league.

When Hammon was hired in 2014, she became the first full-time, female assistant in any of the four major North American sports leagues.

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