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Magic Johnson demands more Black representation in NBA coaching, executive ranks

Magic Johnson, Masai Ujiri, Nate McMillan, NBA

NBA legend Magic Johnson has already witnessed how the league has changed over the decades, dating from his days as a player all the way to his tenure as a team executive. Amid the context of today’s society, he pleaded that the NBA must open new doors to minority individuals who are capable of serving as a coach or an executive in the league.

“We deserve it. Think about it. Lloyd [Pierce] just got fired. So that’s another one of us, even though on an interim basis they’ve replaced him with Nate McMillan. But we’re seeing that we should have more on the sidelines as head coaches,” Johnson told ESPN. “We’re proving we know what we’re doing. But more than that, we want to have more on the executive level as well, because you see what happened in Toronto [with Masai Ujiri] and he led them to an NBA Finals. He’s an African-American that knows what he’s doing, but there’s plenty others that can run teams, too.

He cited the firing of Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce but commended how another African-American in Nate McMillan was able to take over the position. Johnson also gave praises to Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri who successfully formed a roster that won the 2019 NBA title.

The Hall of Famer then claimed that there are more members of the African-American community who are deserving to land an opportunity in the league.

“We just haven’t been given the opportunity. So I want to see more as head coaches, more on the executive level, whether that’s a general manager or a president of a team. And then also hopefully we’ll find more even owning teams as well.”

Perhaps a specific instance that can be drawn to the situation was the recent firing of Ryan Saunders as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. In just a span of hours, the team already found his replacement in Chris Finch which led to public clamor. Many thought that Timberwolves assistant coach David Vanterpool was deserving of getting the nod but was ultimately denied the opportunity due to speculated racial reasons.

The game of basketball definitely changed the life of Magic Johnson and he believes that it can also positively impact the lives of his African-American brothers, only if they were given sufficient opportunities to do so in the NBA.