Following Jacque Vaughn’s promotion from interim coach to head coach of the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, a bit of unprecedented history was made. As of Nov. 9, most of the head coaches in the NBA are Black for the first time. To be exact, there are a record 16 African American head coaches. According to Statistica, 71.8 percent of the players in the NBA are Black.
Since becoming the coach to help accomplish this feat, Vaughn has received praise around the League for making this possible. Vaughn joins Doc Rivers, Ty Lue, Darvin Ham, Monty Williams, Willie Green, Nate McMillan, and Chauncey Billups as a black former NBA player who are currently head coaches. Vaughn played in the NBA for 12 seasons, won a title with the Suns, and averaged 4.5 points and 2.5 assists per game over his career.
“It’s never been for me how many Black head coaches there are,” 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said, per Andscape. “For me, it’s been about Black coaches having the same opportunity as everyone else at becoming head coach. The fact that it’s now 16 only amplifies that – Jacque Vaughn didn’t get the head job because he was Black. He got it because he was the most qualified.”
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff expressed how Vaughn’s hiring has shown growth within the hiring process for Black coaches.
“The most impressive thing about there being 16 Black head coaches in the NBA and the most significant thing is that there is equal opportunity for Black coaches to be head coaches, which hasn’t always been the case,” Bickerstaff said. “Owners and general managers are open-minded enough to see past the exterior and see the real qualifications that make leaders, teachers, and coaches.”
The feat is a noteworthy accomplishment in League and Black history; players have shown frustration over the past months. Tracing back to June before the NBA Finals started when there were 15 black head coaches, Celtics star Jaylen Brown told reporters the eventual rise of Black head coaches is related to the “grand scheme of things that kind of goes on in America.”
” I don’t understand what took so long, to be honest.” Brown said.
The Nets are 3-2 under Vaughn and are coming off a 112-85 win over the Knicks. Brooklyn will look to continue the good vibes and win their fifth game in the last seven games against the Clippers.