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The NBA wants female head coaches. But how feasible is that goal? (USA)

The league’s commissioner wants 50% of NBA referees to be women, and a similar increase in coaches. There are plenty of obstacles though.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver wants more female referees in the NBA. “I’m not sure how it was that it remained so male-dominated for so long,” said Silver last month. And Silver doesn’t want to stop with referees. “The goal going forward is that 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.”

One would think the NBA can find plenty of qualified candidates among current and retired WNBA players. Of the six women with coaching experience in the NBA, all have ties to the WNBA. However, economic and cultural barriers remain that could limit the success of a WNBA to NBA coaching pathway.

In collaboration with the National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA), the NBA developed a plan to diversify the coaching pool. “This all starts with developing good talent and creating opportunities for people to become qualified. Quota systems don’t work. They’re ineffective, and we’re not interested in that. We’re interested in a level playing field with regard to development,” the NBCA president and Dallas Mavericks head coach, Rick Carlisle, told the Guardian.



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