And since we’re on the topic of NBA executives and race, let’s not forget about the Clippers. The embattled L.A. franchise had the third-fewest white players of any NBA team over the last 15 years (13 percent). That’s a lot of “beautiful black bodies” for Donald Sterling to admire.
Not so fast, though. The white fan base vs. white player trend is very dependent on two teams: the Utah Jazz and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Take those teams out, and the trend becomes insignificant (r=0.12, p=.55). If you also remove the Wizards, a black team with a large black fan base, the trend disappears (r=0.04). The black fan base vs. black players trend is more resilient, but its significance also decreases as you start removing the most influential teams (p=0.08 without the Jazz and T’Wolves; p=0.21 if you also cut out the Wizards).
Teams with whiter fan bases tended to have whiter rosters than teams with less-white fan bases (although at p=0.06, this difference wasn’t quite significant by standard measures), while teams with blacker fan bases tended to have blacker rosters than teams with fewer black fans (p=0.01).