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Simply put, the NBA needs more black owners. Sterling and Levenson have proven it’s time that the demographics of the league’s ownership – an absolute union of rich white men – more closely resemble those of its player and fan base – 75 percent of NBA players are black, as is 45 percent of the league’s television audience.

In January, Forbes estimated the value of the Hawks at $425 million, the third-lowest in the league. Of the league’s 49 majority owners (spread across 30 teams), Michael Jordan is the only African-American. Keep in mind, Jordan’s estimated net worth reached that $1 billion benchmark because he increased his majority stake in the Bobcats from 80 percent to 89.5 percent. Jordan, Andre “Dr. Dre Young” (due to his stake in Beats Electronics which just sold to Apple for $3 billion) and former BET head Bob Johnson, the former owner of the Bobcats, are not officially on the list of Forbes’ 9 Black billionaires worldwide.

The only African-American on that list is Oprah Winfrey. To put her personal wealth in prespective, for Winfrey to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers, which cost former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer $2 billion, Oprah would’ve had to spend nearly all of her estimated $2.7 billion net worth. Unfortunately, the complex national history of race relations and wealth inequality has led us to this point, where ownership is scarce for African-Americans in sports, despite their contributions to a team’s bottom line.

And even with the societal push for owners to be held more accountable for their ridiculous actions, skyrocketing valuation of teams is making it difficult for anyone but the world’s wealthiest to actually assume control of a team.

History has a wonderful way of righting its wrongs. And as time moves on and more Black men and women attain significant wealth, I have no doubt that we will see more people of color pull together teams of wealthy people, who will become owners more in touch with the racial and economic diversity of their fan base. Sorry to say, it just can’t come fast enough.

Zack Burgess is an award winning journalist, who is the Director/Owner of OFF WOODWARD MEDIA, LLC, where he works as a Writer, Editor and Communications Specialist. Twitter: @zackburgess1

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Black Men Can Count: The NBA Needs More Black Owners  was originally published on

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