Alex Rodriguez yet to be finalized acquisition of the Minnesota Timberwolves, is well known news. Yet, from the outset the acquisition has been overshadowed by his personal life. The break-up with Jennifer Lopez, has in many ways overshadowed the accomplishment. Several news outlets going as far as referring to A-Rod’s purchase as retail therapy for a breakup, or a diversion to keep his mind of his famous ex.
Love him or hate him, and over the years Rodriguez has given plenty of folk’s reasons to do each. His latest endeavor is undeniably an achievement. You see, it is not just an individual accomplishment, but a win for people of color and their business communities.
This is a point that no one seems to be talking about. Here are four reasons why it matters.
1. Minority Owner
As an owner of an NBA franchise, Rodriguez joins an elite club. There are only 76 individuals that have an ownership stake in an NBA team. This is spread out over 30 teams. Dig deeper into the make-up of this group and most of those individuals are white males. None are Latino. With this acquisition, Rodriguez becomes the only Latino currently in the NBA with an ownership stake in a franchise. Win, lose or draw that is an accomplishment.
2. A Seat at the Table
Many a businessperson knows the saying “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu”. While Rodriguez was always an All-Star player, he was still technically a “player”. Meaning he was ultimately beholden to the orders of his employer. A realization he likely came to at the end of his playing career when his role with the Yankees was severely diminished. If he didn’t realize it before, he knew then. The real team he played for was “Team Labor” whose job was to win games to make his employers aka “Team Capital” more money. With this acquisition, Alex Rodriguez now becomes the employer and gets that proverbial “seat at the table”. More importantly, he is no longer on the menu!
3. An Example
These days the lack of diversity in the ranks of executives, boardrooms and ownership positions is frequently written and spoken about. It’s well understood that for those that are marginalized to feel as if they have a chance at reaching those ranks. Having an example or role model to look upon does wonders. It not only inspires, but can often serve as a blue print. With this business transaction Rodriguez can now serve as an example for those aspiring to reach that level.
4. Climb the Ladder, Extend Your Hand Down the Next
As a former player, and now owner of color, the hope is that Rodriguez understands what it is like to be marginalized despite having the qualifications for a position. One hopes he takes this understanding to heart and bears it in mind when making decisions on personnel, executives, vendors, and the like. Much in the way his former teammate Derek Jeter, also now too an owner, has demonstrated when he appointed Kim Ng, as General Manager of the Florida Marlins. The move made her the first female and first Asian American to serve as the general manager in Major League Baseball. Should Rodriguez be mindful of this and make similar moves, that’s not just good for the Timberwolves, that’s good communities of color and society at large!