NBA commissioner Adam Silver says league has moved away from using term 'owner'

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver arrives at the NBA Awards on Monday, June 24, 2019, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Adam Silver has indicated he is personally uneasy about using the term "owner." (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The National Basketball Association has done quite a bit to distinguish itself from the other major sports leagues in the past few years, but one big difference can be found if you take a hard look at the league’s press releases.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed to TMZ on Sunday that the league has purposefully ceased using the term “owner” in its official communications, opting instead to call them governors.

TMZ had previously reported that the NBA had moved away from the term due to the uncomfortable racial connotations.

"I don't want to overreact to the term, because as I've said earlier, people end up twisting themselves into knots avoiding the use of the word, owner" Silver said. "But we moved away from that term years ago at the league. We call our team owners 'governor' of the team and 'alternate governor.'

"I think it makes sense. As I said, I don’t want to overreact. You'll find the word throughout memos over the past decade in the NBA. But I'm sensitive to it and I think teams are moving away from the term (and) will stick with using 'governor.'"

It should be noted the entire NBA hasn’t walked away from the term, simply the commissioner’s office and any team uneasy over using the word “owner” when the majority of the league’s players are black and the vast majority of team owners are white.

Per TMZ, Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks has publicly supported using the term “owner,” saying that it’s not that big a deal. The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets are also among the teams using the term “owner” in official team media guides, according to USA Today.

Silver said he has received mixed feedback from players over the move.

"Players have gone both ways,” Silver said. “I think a few players have actually spoken out and said the greatest thing that ever happened was when Michael Jordan was able to call himself an owner."

"But, of course, Draymond Green has been very public about the fact that we should be moving away from the term, and I completely respect that."

Green has previously criticized the use of “owner” during an appearance on LeBron James’ HBO show “The Shop.”

When asked if he thinks other leagues should follow the NBA’s lead, Silver kept his opinion to himself.

“To each his own.”

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