NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants more women in the league.
Speaking Thursday at the Economic Club of Washington, Silver said he wants women to make up half of all new referees joining the NBA, and he wants teams to hire women as coaches as well.
“It’s an area, frankly, where I’ve acknowledged that I’m not sure how it was that it remained so male-dominated for so long,” Silver said of officiating. “Because it’s an area of the game where physically, certainly, there’s no benefit to being a man, as opposed to a woman, when it comes to refereeing.”
Currently there are three female officials in the NBA, and he wants that number to rise.
“The goal is going forward, it should be roughly 50-50 of new officials entering in the league,” he said. “Same for coaches, by the way. We have a program, too. There’s no reason why women shouldn’t be coaching men’s basketball.”
The NBA has never had a female head coach. Becky Hammon became the first woman to be hired as a full-time assistant coach in 2014, with the San Antonio Spurs.
She has continued her move up the NBA coaching ladder within the Spurs organization. Before the start of the 2018-2019 season, Hammon moved to the front row of coaches alongside head coach Gregg Popovich.
More history was made this season when Kristi Toliver of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics joined the NBA’s Washington Wizards as part of the assistant coach/player development staff, making her the first active WNBA player working as an NBA assistant coach.
In December, the Indiana Pacers hired Kelly Krauskopf as the team’s assistant general manager, making her the first woman in the league to have that role.