NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he is committed to seeing a woman become head coach of an NBA team.
In an interview with ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk on Tuesday, Silver said the NBA needs to do more to “accelerate the move toward a woman being a head coach in the league.”
Silver discussed leadership roles for women as part of a question and answer session for Lean In, a gender equality campaign started by Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook.
He said physical differences between men and women make no difference when it comes to coaching.
“There is absolutely no reason why a woman will not ascend to be a head coach in this league,” Silver said. “We are very focused in on it.”
But Silver doesn’t only want to see women head coaches in the NBA. He wants women to play a more active role throughout the organization, he said.
“We have begun a training program here in the league office so we can bring in women who have been around the game of basketball ― some of them are former players or some just have a passion for the game,” he said. “They begin becoming part of the network of team personnel. So that when these assistant coaching jobs become available, they are in the pipeline and in a position to potentially get those jobs.”
As the Chicago Tribune points out, there are currently three women in high-ranking positions within the NBA. San Antonio’s Becky Hammon is an assistant coach, along with Sacramento’s Nancy Lieberman. And Natalie Nakase with the Los Angeles Clippers is an assistant video coordinator.
Silver said he would make it his responsibility to see a woman become a head coach while he is commissioner.
“I think it is on me to sort of ensure that it happens sooner rather than later,” Silver said. He added that he hopes to see more women officiating in the NBA as early as next season.