Hawks name a diversity officer

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks on Thursday hired Nzinga Shaw as the team's first chief diversity and inclusion officer.

The Hawks said Shaw will guide Hawks executives "so that they can engender inclusivity in every facet of the business." She will report directly to Hawks chief executive officer Steve Koonin.

The hiring follows racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry, which were revealed before the season. Levenson is selling his majority share of the team, and Ferry has taken an indefinite leave of absence.

Shaw said one of her goals is to help rebuild the Atlanta community's trust in the team.

In a statement released by the team, Shaw said the Hawks can rebuild trust by "emphasizing civility and sportsmanship in an effort to ensure that everyone can be a fan of the team, attend home games, and so that we can serve as a model for inclusion in the NBA."

"More specifically, I will lead the charge of creating a strategic framework to help shift the culture so that we can create greater inclusion and engagement with all of our fans and stakeholders," Shaw said.

In the announcement, the Hawks said "diversity and inclusion must be respected and valued at every level of the organization."

Shaw most recently held a similar position at Edelman, a public relations agency.

Koonin said the Hawks' "new model" will improve accountability in the organization.

"As CEO, I am committed to infusing diversity and inclusion throughout our organization, and I will continue to champion it from the very top," Koonin said.