NBA Commissioner Adam Silver now says that the league has “moved away” from using the term “owner,” because he is “sensitive” to the racial connotations some apply to the word.
Early in June, some voices started calling for an end to the use of the term for owners of NBA teams because some claim to be uncomfortable using the term due to America’s history of slavery.
Several teams already started employing different terms to call team owners to avoid the “racially insensitive” term of “owner,” Breitbart reported on June 3.
Several days later, activist actor and rapper Common picked up on the controversy and proclaimed “Nobody owns us.”
Now the NBA’s commissioner is speaking out in agreement on the matter.
“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,” Silver told TMZ. “But we moved away from that term years ago in the league.”
“We call our team owners ‘Governor of the team’ and ‘alternate Governor,'” Silver added. “I’m sensitive to it, and I think to the extent teams are moving away from the term, we’ll stick with using Governor.”
Silver admitted that some players have spoken up inside the league and said that the term “owner” is not a problem for them. He even noted that when Michael Jordan was able to call himself an owner, it was “the greatest thing that ever happened.”
Still, Silver concluded saying, “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.”
Silver was referring to a segment of LeBron James’ talk show, The Shop, where Warriors forward Draymond Green bristled at the term late last year.
“You shouldn’t say owner,” Green said at the time. Green added that owners should be called CEOs or majority shareholder, or some other term because it was insensitive to say a white man owns the labor of black men.
Since then at least two teams, the Philadelphia 76ers and the L.A. Clippers, have decided to dump the term.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.