NBA commissioner Adam Silver has endorsed the idea that the league should not use the term “owner.” Speaking to TMZ Sports about the growing movement among some teams to ban the term, Silver stated, “We moved away from that term years ago… I don’t want to overreact to the term because, as I said earlier, people end up twisting themselves into knots avoiding the use of the word owner. But, we moved away from that term years ago in the league … We call our team owners ‘Governor of the team’ and ‘alternate Governor.'”

TMZ noted in early June that the Los Angeles Clippers In Los Angeles listed their owner, Steve Ballmer as “Chairman” rather than “Owner” in early 2018 although prior to that he had been listed as “Owner.” TMZ added that the burgeoning movement to ban the term was given added impetus by Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors in late 2018 when he appeared on LeBron James’ “The Shop.” On the show, comedian Jon Stewart stated, “The fact that they still call people with those teams ‘owners,’ when does that change?” He added, “When your product is purely the labor of people, then owner sounds like something that is of a feudal nature.”

Green responded, “You shouldn’t say owner.”

Stewart : “I agree.”

Green then asserted, “CEO or chairman . . . But when you think of a basketball team, like nobody don’t think of the f****** Golden State Warriors and, like, think of that damn bridge. Like, they think of the players that make that team.”

The Philadephia 76ers now refer to their owners as “Managing Partners” and their co-owners as “Limited Partners.” In early June the NBA released a statement to TMZ saying, “We refer to the owners of our teams as Governors. Each team is represented on our Board of Governors.”

Silver acknowledged that the league periodically has used the term “owner” in a memo but protested, “I’m sensitive to it and I think to the extent teams are moving away from the term, we’ll stick with using Governor.” He added, “Players have gone both ways. I think a few players have actually spoken out and said the greatest thing that ever happened was when Michael Jordan was able to call himself an owner. But, of course, Draymond Green has been very public about the fact that we should be moving away from the term … and I completely respect that.”

In December 2018, LeBron James blasted the NFL on “The Shop,” saying, “In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality. And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the f*** I tell y’all to do. Or we get rid of y’all.’” He then praised Silver:

I’m so appreciative in our league of our commissioner. He doesn’t mind us having … a real feeling and to be able to express that. It doesn’t even matter if Adam agrees with what we are saying, he at least wants to hear us out. As long as we are doing it in a very educational, non-violent way, then he’s absolutely okay with it.

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