Dallas Mavericks CEO says fairness and equality should be ‘table stakes’

By Catie George, Manager, Communications and Storytelling

As the first Black female CEO in the history of the NBA, 2024 Dallas Regional Chamber Board Chair Cynt Marshall always celebrates her culture, especially during Black History Month (BHM) in February.

“As a Black person, this month is meaningful to me because it allows others to learn about my heritage and the life of my ancestors,” said Marshall. “I celebrate BHM by reflecting on a moment in Black history every morning in February. I make sure to attend, at a minimum, a weekly BHM event… I celebrate by singing the Negro National Anthem every day, and I take time to really reflect on the words.”

Raised in central California, Marshall has fought for diversity since her days as the first Black cheerleader at the University of California, Berkeley. Her strong drive for equality came, in part, from her mother.

“My mother is my role model. She taught me faith, resilience, optimism, perseverance, and the value of a strong work ethic,” Marshall said. “She instilled in me the beauty of compassion and taught me the importance of lending my head, hand, and heart to others.”

Other leaders who influenced Marshall include Chuck Smith, a legendary pastor, and Priscilla Hill Ardoin, a professional who works in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space. Marshall’s influences have motivated her to break down barriers, and she doesn’t plan to slow down any time soon.

“My vision is that our workplace, including our court, is a place where every voice matters and everybody belongs,” said Marshall. “My vision is that fairness and equality undergird the work we do in the NBA and are table stakes to live, work, and play with us.”

Marshall furthers her vision by also mentoring and championing other Black women.

“I’m hyper-focused on ensuring that while I might be the ‘first’ in many things, I won’t be the last. I spend time helping others crystallize their dreams, document goals, and develop a game plan,” said Marshall. “Fortunately, I have the ability to place Black women in leadership positions, and I do not hesitate to put them in positions that they are qualified for.”

As we celebrate the past during BHM, Marshall believes it is also essential to look to the future.

“My excitement for the future comes from a belief in the spirit, smarts, and inclusive nature of our youth. My hope and optimism for the Black community also stems from a belief in humanity,” said Marshall. “I am excited about the opportunities that are being created, made available, and seized upon for and by the Black community. I’m excited by the recognition that Black culture is American culture, too.”