Shot Callers: Oris Stuart, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, NBA

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The NBA believes that diversity and inclusion can be a driving force behind innovation and can greatly help in improving the business of basketball.

FOS Senior Writer Michael McCarthy chats with Oris Stuart of the NBA about his unique role within the organization and how the league works to bring the game of basketball to all people.

Edited highlights appear below:

On what his job entails (0:23)

Stuart: “We support all of the activities across the league that are targeted on making sure we have the diversity of our fans and the diversity of our communities reflected inside the organization at all levels league-wide…Another is making sure that we have a sense of who our customers and our fans are and really have experiences that allow us to understand them better and build more connections and more intimacy with them…A third area is our focus on diversifying our supply chain and focusing on economic inclusion and all of our processes of buying goods and services…Finally, we are very active in support of things that our teams are doing in their communities, that they’re doing in their HR processes and the things that they’re doing to build the most productive and effective cultures.

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On identifying best practices for the role (2:39)
Stuart: “I think there are really two sources for identifying best practices around diversity and inclusion. First, you look at those organizations that are doing a good job and that have results that prove it, whether it’s business results or their data shows that they are very inclusive and are being effective at bringing in diversity throughout. You look at those organizations and you look at what they’re doing and you determine whether some of those practices can be applied here internally. I think the other source is we talk to our people. You ask our fans, our customers ‘What is it that we can be doing better to serve you, to support you to make sure that you’re having the kind of experience here that allows you to fully appreciate what we have to offer?’ So they’ll give you insights as well as to what we can and should be doing better. “

On competing with other leagues for talent (4:33)

Stuart: “We’re competing for talent not only with the other sports leagues, but with some of the world’s best sports organization. We’ve got to have a compelling case to come join us to get in the game and to help us deliver on our promise…I think we’ve got a lot to offer and what we’re finding out when we talk to candidates is that we do and they’re attracted to our culture, they’re attracted to the exceptional talent that we have working here. They’re attracted to the brand and what we’re doing to grow the game. They are attracted to our engagement and our commitment to the community as well…There’s a lot of competition and there are a lot of great people. I think we’re doing a good job of getting more than our fair share.”

How do challenges differ between the NBA, WNBA, G-League, and 2K League (6:52)

Stuart: “Each of the leagues has its own kind of unique setup and there are different stages of maturity. I mean the NBA is 73 years old, so some very long history. The W is I think 23. We’re in our 23rd season now. The 2K league is just two years old and I believe the G-League is 18 years old. So different stages of maturity, different scale, different needs, but they all share the common need of needing the best talent in the world. And so that’s where there’s a strong similarity and that’s where our practices can be focused to really bring the best people into our operations. But beyond that just given where they are, given the size differences and given the different years they’ve been in existence, there are unique opportunities in each year. ”