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Shelley Cayette makes history as first Black woman chief operating officer of an NBA team


According to the Bleacher Report/Afro Tech, the Cleveland Cavaliers have officially promoted Shelly Cayette to both executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO). She now makes history as the first Black woman to serve as COO of an NBA team.

“Look, I’ve will got to tell you – part of me would like to see the day when I’m not making history,” Cayette said. “It’s nice to know that I’m the first, but hopefully I can open doors so there aren’t any more firsts. The goal is to do away with firsts.”

This isn’t the first time the Cleveland Cavaliers have broken gender-related barriers. In fact, the team hired Lindsay Gottlieb, making her the first woman to join an NBA coaching staff.

Upon joining the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2012, Cayette served as the team’s senior vice president of global partnerships. Her work would go on to land her a spot in the Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 list for 2021.

A former ballplayer, Cayette played college basketball at Tulane University in her birthplace of Louisiana before starting her career as a marketing coordinator for Harrah’s Casino, located in New Orleans.  From there, she landed her first job in the league in the marketing department with the New Orleans Hornets back in 2007.

When she first arrived in Cleveland, she took on the role of vice president of partnership marketing and strategy for the Cleveland Cavaliers and continues to smash glass ceilings as a woman in the sports industry.

“Shelly Cayette is both a game-changer and a leader of the highest caliber,” said Nic Barlage, the Cavs’ president of business operations and Rock Entertainment Group chief operating officer, in a statement. “This promotion is a reflection of not only those qualities and the business success she has generated, but the person she is and how she has impacted so many other members of our organization, our community and our industry.”

Supreme Court will consider challenge to affirmative action in college admissions

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear challenges to the admissions process at Harvard and the University of North Carolina, presenting the most serious threat in decades to the use of affirmative action by the nation’s public and private colleges and universities, reports NBC News.

Despite similar challenges, the court has repeatedly upheld affirmative action in the past. But two liberal justices who were key to those decisions are gone — Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Their replacements, Trump appointees Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, are conservative and considered less likely to find the practice constitutional.

In the latest case, groups backed by a longtime opponent of affirmative action, Edward Blum of Maine, sued Harvard and UNC in federal court, claiming that Harvard’s undergraduate admissions system discriminated against Asian American students and that UNC’s discriminated against both Asian American and White students. Lower courts ruled that the schools’ limited consideration of race was a legitimate effort to achieve a more diverse student body.

The lawsuits were targeted to challenge the admissions process at both a private and a public university. The Supreme Court has long barred racial quotas in admissions. But it has allowed schools to consider a student’s race to be one “plus factor” among many other qualities, provided the admissions process looks at the overall qualifications of applicants and uses race no more than necessary to achieve a level of diversity.