Adam Silver Claims NBA Got Rid of Owner Label 'Years Ago'

Silver explains that the NBA is trying not to 'overreact to the word.'

Commissioner of the NBA Adam Silver speaks onstage

Image via Getty/Bennett Raglin/Fast Company

Commissioner of the NBA Adam Silver speaks onstage

Since assuming the office in 2014, commissioner Adam Silver has taken pride in transforming the NBA into one of America's most advanced professional sports leagues. While his proposed changes to seasonal play have drawn a lot of attention, Silver's strides to increase the NBA's social sensitivity sometimes go unnoticed.

When fielding questions on the controversy surrounding the "owner" title, Silver explained to TMZ that the NBA officially rid itself of the term "years" before this recent discourse. 

"We moved away from that term years ago with the league," Silver said. "We call our team owners 'Governor' of the team and 'Alternate Governors.'"

Although the NBA hasn't referred to them as owners in a while, several teams still project their majority shareholders as the franchise's owners to the public. While he doesn't directly speak to their motives, Silver explains that the NBA is trying not to "overreact to the word." Still, he does state he's sensitive to grievances surrounding the public use of the title. 

"I don't want to overreact. You'll find the word throughout memos over the last decade in the NBA," Silver said. "I am sensitive to it. I think to the extent teams are moving away from the term, we'll stick with using 'Governor.'"

Several NBA teams—notably the 76ers—have transitioned from calling their buying group owners to a more communal term. This is being done in an effort to deplete the "slave-to-master" undertone. The most vocal advocate for eliminating the term is Golden State's Draymond Green: His appearance on The Shop sparked the debate.

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"You shouldn’t say owner," Green said before listing off other suitable synonyms for the title. Golden State responded by stating they call their majority shareholders "Governors" as the league suggests.

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