NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA will look to move away from the use of the term "owner" to describe those with controlling interest of teams in favor of terms like "Governor of the team," "alternate Governor," or even "Chairman."
CBS Sports reports the change was made due to concerns that the term "owner" can be viewed as racially insensitive in a league where the vast majority of players are African American and the majority of those with ownership stakes are Caucasian. While the league itself stopped using the term years ago, individual teams are now starting to follow suit; something Silver talked about with TMZ Sports.
"I don't want to overreact to the term because, as I said earlier, people end up twisting themselves into knots avoiding the use of the word 'owner,'" Silver said, via TMZ Sports. "But we moved away from that term years ago with the league. We call our team owners 'Governors' of the team and 'alternate Governors.' So I think it makes sense. As I said, I don't want to overreact ... but I'm sensitive to it and I think to the extent that teams are moving away from the term, we'll stick with using governor."
According to USA Today, a few teams — including the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets — still use the term "owner" in team media guides. The Philadelphia 76ers characterize their executives as "managing partner" and "co-managing partner." The Los Angeles Clippers list Steve Ballmer, who bought the team in 2014, as "chairman" on the team's official website.