At least two NBA teams have done away with the term “owner” reportedly because it could be considered racially insensitive, according to TMZ Sports.
Steve Ballmer is no longer called the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Instead, Ballmer is listed as the team’s chairman on its website, a change that TMZ believes occurred in early 2018.
Similarly, the Philadelphia 76ers also dropped Joshua Harris’ title as owner and changed it to managing partner. And the team now describes its co-owners as limited partners.
Other basketball teams have reportedly held high-level talks about getting rid of the term that some say “feels racially insensitive” in a league where the majority of the players are black.
What’s the story?
The issue has reportedly been talked about for some time, but last fall it gained some attention when Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green appeared on LeBron James’ show, “The Shop” on HBO and argued against using the word.
“You shouldn’t say ‘owner,'” said Green, whose Warriors are playing the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals this week.
“You should say, ‘majority shareholder,’ or something like that,” he added.
Joe Lacob is listed as owner and CEO of the Golden State Warriors on its website.
“When your product is purely the labor of people, then ‘owner’ sounds like something that is of a feudal nature,” Jon Stewart explained on the show.
What did the NBA say about the term?
The NBA hasn’t pressured teams to change the term owner, according to sources for TMZ Sports.
In a statement to TMZ, the NBA said it doesn’t refer to team owners as such.
“We refer to the owners of our teams as Governors; each team is represented on our Board of Governors,” an NBA spokesperson said.
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