Diversity is a Slam Dunk for the NBA


By: Lina Zia, Guest Contributor

Does diversity attract diversity?  If you’re the NBA, your answer may very well be a resounding yes.

Currently, NBA viewership is scoring a tremendous surge in multicultural diversity.  And a Nielsen report published in February 2015 cited NBA player diversity as one of the reasons for this growth.  In fact, at the beginning of last season, the NBA reported a record 92 players from 39 countries amongst its ranks, with players from such wide-reaching locales as Argentina & Australia to Israel & Macedonia.  And to end the season, 8 out of 12 players on the World Champion San Antonio Spurs were foreign born, including long time stars, Frenchmen Tony Parker & Argentinian Manu Ginobili.

The Nielsen report also states that, “during the 2013-2014 season, multicultural audiences spent more time watching NBA games on TV compared to white viewers, with African-American and Asian-Americans spending the most time watching, followed by Hispanics.”

Additionally, according to a 2012 Forbes report, beyond the rise of international players, this surge in multicultural viewership can be credited to the explosion of international media and social media growth.  According to the NBA, the league has built one of the largest social communities in the world, with more than 278 million likes and followers.

Furthermore, the report points to NBA’s off-season promotional effort as a mark of success. “In the off-season, coaches, players and team personnel travel overseas to promote basketball and the NBA through various goodwill clinics and events.” And lastly, the NBA’s growth is due to basketball’s emergence as the number-two global sport, after soccer. Regardless, no matter how the league moves forward, it’s clear that diversity is providing a much appreciated assist.