Darvin Ham among record 15 Black head coaches in NBA


Jan 5, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks’ acting head coach Darvin Ham calls a play in the first quarter during the game against the Toronto Raptors at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

When the 2022-23 NBA season tips off in October, there will be a record-breaking number of Black head coaches in the league. 

Among the 15 black head coaches is Darvin Ham, who was recently hired by the Los Angeles Lakers. The first-time head coach, who is replacing Frank Vogel, was an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks during their championship-winning 2020-21 season.

Diversity in the number of NBA head coaches has been a focal point of discussion for the league, the coaches’ association, players and coaches' agents for several seasons. With more than 70% of players in the NBA being Black, the need for diversity amongst head coaches has always been a necessity. 

Just two years ago, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said at the start of the 2020 Finals that “the number (of Black coaches) is too low right now,” and since then much progress has been made, as seven of eight new hires last season were Black.

How many Black head coaches are in the NBA?

Ham’s hiring makes 15 Black head coaches in the NBA, the most ever. There’s still one more vacancy this offseason, the Charlotte Hornets, so the number could climb even higher.

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The previous high was 13 during the 2012-13 season. 

How many Black head coaches are in other sports leagues?

In the National Football League, the number of Black head coaches is extremely low in comparison to the NBA. With also 70% of NFL players being Black, the NFL has only three Black head coaches, with no progress being made in the 2022 offseason.

In Major League Baseball, just two of its 30 managers – Dusty Baker of the Houston Astros and Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers – are Black.

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