The National Basketball Association has one of the highest percentages of African American players from the big four professional sports leagues in North America. In 2023, approximately 70.4 percent of NBA players were African American. Meanwhile, ethnically white players constituted a 17.5 percent share of all NBA players that year. After the WNBA and NBA, the National Football League had the largest share of African Americans in a professional sports league in North America.
How do other roles in the NBA compare?
When it comes to African American representation in the NBA, no other role in the NBA is as well represented by African Americans as players. Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the scale, less than five percent of team governors in the NBA were African American in 2023. During the 2022/23 season, the role with the second-highest share of African Americans was head coach, with a share of 50 percent. That season, the number of African American head coaches in the NBA exceeded the number of white head coaches for the first time.
African Americans in the NFL
In 2022, the greatest share of players by ethnicity in the NFL were African American, with more than half of all NFL players falling within this group. The representation of African Americans in American Football extended beyond the playing field, with 36.3 percent of NFL assistant coaches being African American in 2022 as well. However, positions such as vice presidents and head coaches were less representative of the African American population, as less than 10 percent of the individuals fulfilling these roles in 2022 were African American.
Share of players in the NBA from 2010 to 2023, by ethnicity
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TIDES. (August 8, 2023). Share of players in the NBA from 2010 to 2023, by ethnicity [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved December 01, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1167867/nba-players-ethnicity/
TIDES. "Share of players in the NBA from 2010 to 2023, by ethnicity." Chart. August 8, 2023. Statista. Accessed December 01, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1167867/nba-players-ethnicity/
TIDES. (2023). Share of players in the NBA from 2010 to 2023, by ethnicity. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: December 01, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1167867/nba-players-ethnicity/
TIDES. "Share of Players in The Nba from 2010 to 2023, by Ethnicity." Statista, Statista Inc., 8 Aug 2023, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1167867/nba-players-ethnicity/
TIDES, Share of players in the NBA from 2010 to 2023, by ethnicity Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1167867/nba-players-ethnicity/ (last visited December 01, 2023)
Share of players in the NBA from 2010 to 2023, by ethnicity [Graph], TIDES, August 8, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1167867/nba-players-ethnicity/