Michele Roberts NBA NBAPA
Attorney Michele Roberts Elected First Woman Head of NBA Players Association7/29/2014
Via ESPN: Washington, D.C., attorney Michele Roberts has been voted in as the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Asso...
At the close of a chaotic Monday filled with meetings, conference calls, presentations and an array of emotions, NBPA executive committee members and team player representatives cast 32 votes in favor of Roberts as the successor to the ousted Billy Hunter, six more than she needed for election.
Chris Paul, shown driving against Russell Westbrook in a May playoff game, said newly elected union chief Michele Roberts was "very relatable to a lot of our players. I think that's what really hit home."
Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul said he was impressed by Roberts' grace under fire, fresh ideas and quiet resolve during an extensive interview process.
"Today, we started out by telling the players how monumental today was," said Paul, the president of the players' association. "We've never had this amount of players here for a meeting, to give their input and feedback. After all the hours and time [put in by] our executive committee, along with an amazing search committee that helped throughout this process, it's an unbelievable feeling to have the wonderful Michele Roberts now as a part of our team."
Paul said Roberts was flush with fresh ideas.
"One particular member from our search committee ... asked her a very tough question in the interviews and [vice president] Roger [Mason Jr.] almost fell out of his seat after she finished giving her answer," Paul said. "Even though she's a female, she's very relatable to a lot of our players. I think that's what really hit home for not only myself but some of these other guys as well."
"They've got their union back, and I'm going to make sure that they are empowered to take their union exactly where they want their union to go," Roberts said. "It's going to be a team that's going to empower them to be able to do their business as they decide.
"I am a bad woman, but I'm not that bad," Roberts said. "We are going to have a team, a very strong team, what I call a team of gladiators, that's going to help these men and women, again, go in the direction they choose to go. It's a new day. It's not a one-person, Superman, 'I've got this.' It's going to be a team."
That was exactly what the executive committee seemed to like about Roberts' vision.
"It really is a new day for our union," Mason said. "It started off with the players saying, 'We've had enough, we're taking our union back' a year and a half ago with Billy Hunter. We decided we wanted to be inclusive with all our players and find not only a successor but a new-age players' association executive director. We're fortunate throughout a long and rigorous process, we found one."
Roberts said she wanted to create "a system that will empower these players to run their union" and that they'd already begun talking about whether to opt out of the current CBA in 2017.
"We started yesterday preparing for CBA negotiations," she said. "It's not a question you direct to me. My clients are going to tell me where we're going, and I'm going to make sure we get there."
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement shortly after Roberts was elected, saying that he would "look forward to working with her and the NBPA Executive Committee to ensure the continued health and growth of our game."
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