The National Basketball Players Association, the union for NBA players, was seen as a rudderless ship even before previous executive director Billy Hunter stepped down early 2013. So it is an association that has been crying out for a strong leader, and it hopes it got just that in its newest choice: Michele Roberts.
Roberts, at the very least, was an historic choice, as she becomes the first woman to head a major sports union. She comes to the NBPA from the premier law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher and Flom, where she was a top litigator. A 2011 article in Washingtonian magazine referred to her as a “renowned trial lawyer” who “is known for dazzling juries.”
According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Roberts was the choice of NBPA president, and Clippers point guard, Chris Paul, who rounded up the votes amid a somewhat contentious meeting of union executive committee members and player representatives from NBA teams.
Several player agents were said to be unhappy with all of the three candidates up for the vote Monday night in Las Vegas, and they pushed for a postponement of the decision. Also, Jerry Stackhouse, despite having no official role, turned up and made some noise.
As some expected, retired player Jerry Stackhouse showed at NBPA meeting and criticized process for executive director, source tells Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 29, 2014
Jerry Stackhouse says vote is being “rammed down our throats.” Says Exec committee recommended Michele Roberts, but not sure they have votes — Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 29, 2014
Roberts has no previous connection to the NBA, but that may have worked in her favor. Many players felt that the league’s collective bargaining agreement that emerged in the wake of the lockout in 2011 was overly favorable to owners.
Dudley said he thought Mavs CEO Terdima Ussery would’ve won, but his ties to the league killed his chances
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 29, 2014
It may not have been the smoothest meeting, but it produced a noteworthy result. And it capped a satisfying day for Paul, who not only got his choice to lead the union, but earlier saw Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whom Paul had described as “unacceptable,” lose his court battle to stop his wife from selling the team.