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Friday, December 16, 2011
Not many powerful women in the NBA

By Henry Abbott

Many people have worried about that. And I think the knee-jerk concern is that women might be harmed by missing out on these jobs. And that's surely real.

But maybe the real reason to figure this out is not out of some kind of pity, but out of self-interest -- to make the institution stronger and smarter in very real ways.

The late Christopher Hitchens:
The cure for poverty has a name, in fact: it's called the empowerment of women. If you give women some control over the rate at which they reproduce, if you give them some say, take them off the animal cycle of reproduction to which nature and some doctrine -- religious doctrine condemns them, and then if you'll throw in a handful of seeds perhaps and some credit, the floor of everything in that village, not just poverty, but education, health, and optimism will increase. It doesn't matter; try it in Bangladesh, try it in Bolivia, it works -- works all the time.

The NBA is not impoverished in the manner he's describing there (despite all the talk of losses during the lockout). But if this is a recipe for better education, health and optimism ... who doesn't need more of those things? If that works all over the world, let's get that going everywhere, including in the NBA.

The NBA would rightly point out that a number of women work in fairly important positions in the league office, where it's easy to find people who care sincerely about such things. But women not only don't play basketball for the NBA or its teams. They also don't coach, make trades or hand out punishments. (They do, however, at almost every public NBA event, dance around in skimpy outfits for money.)

And there are hints even the league office -- which is more advanced in this regard than many teams -- doesn't have it all figured out just yet.