The National Basketball Players Association


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The most unique season in NBA history has just come to an end, as the Los Angeles Lakers were crowned NBA champions inside Disneyland’s Orlando bubble.  Due the pandemic, it was unclear if this NBA campaign was going to crown a winner, but with the assistance of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and the National Basketball Players Association, the bubble facility was one of the greatest success stories in all of sports.

Whilst Silver did an outstanding job creating the facility, the players themselves were at the heart of everything good for the completion of the season.

With that being said, let’s cover exactly what the National Basketball Players Association does, and the importance of its role in a flourishing NBA landscape.

What is the National Basketball Players Association?

The National Basketball Players Association or NBPA for short, is the union for current basketball players that play in the NBA. Established in 1954, the NBPA was designed for the overall protection of the players, and built in order to maximise in players achieving their goals and opportunities both on and off the floor.


With the best interest of the players at the forefront of the organization, the NBPA is involved with everything from negotiating a player contract under the collective bargaining agreement, to prosecuting a grievance of a player’s behalf or counselling a player on benefits and educational opportunities.

Before the NBPA, players were not protected in any way, and had no access to the privileges and resources that are available to them today. These assistances include health benefits, pension plans and overall salary.

Things changed in 1964, when the NBA All-Star team threatened not to play in the hopes of improving their careers within the league. It was scheduled to be the first nationally televised All-Star game, and the tables started to turn from that point on.

The early leaders of the union included the famous Oscar Robertson, Bob Cousy and Tom Heinsohn, as NBA owners finally recognized the NBPA as a certified and exclusive labour union representing all players in the association. Following this acknowledgement, the NBPA has continued to go from strength to strength as the league tackles new and evolving challenges every season.

As such, the NBPA union members are some of the most well-known players in the world, and have a wide range of benefits and resources at their disposal.

Additionally, the NBPA provides a platform for players to participate in union activities, and offer jobs within the union to continue their imprint on player empowerment moving forward. From executitve leadership roles, to global community outreach programs, to team representative positions, there is no shortage of ways players can become involved with the NBPA.

As a result, the NBPA provides the opportunity for every NBA player to participate in a democratized institution that was created for them, and will continue to be run by them moving forward.

National Basketball Association Players Presidents

Like all great unions, leadership is at the forefront of the NBPA. The NBPA is made up of an executive committee consisting of nine members. These include a President, First Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer and six additional Vice-Presidents. The terms differ for each role, with the President and First Vice President in a four-year term, and the Secretary-Treauser and Vice-Presidents serving for three years.

The executive committee is selected by their peers at the Board of Representatives Meetings. Any union member who has signed a current and working NBA contract is eligible for executive positions within the committee.                  

As per NBPA.com the duties of the Executive Committee include:

  • Directing NBPA affairs and the policy-making decisions necessary to carrying out the NBPA’s work
  • Reviewing and voting on all matters requiring player approval between meetings of the Board of Player Representatives
  • Participating in all telephonic conferences convened by the President and/or requested by the Executive Director
  • Sharing the duties and responsibilities of the Board of Player Representatives

Currently, the President of the NBPA is Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Chris Paul. Already one of the great leaders in the association, Paul was an integral part of enabling the season to resume and ultimately finish. Alongside him is Miami Heat wing Andre Iguodala, another well respected veteran in the league.

Recently, Paul expressed his admiration for Iguodala with the restart of the season.

“Anybody that’s on these executive committees or whatnot, it’s not a paid position, right? So it’s service, you know what I mean? It’s service, and that’s why I commend all the guys in our league that’s on our executive committee. Through all of this stuff, our executive committee was amazing, but the guy who none of this stuff would’ve happened without is Andre Iguodala.”

As of right now, the rest of the committee is made up for fellow NBA players. Anthony Tolliver is the Secretary-Treasurer, whilst Kyrie Irving, Bismack Biyombo Malcolm Brogdan, Jaylen Brown C.J. McCollum and Garrett Temple make up the Vice Presidents.

As stated earlier, each franchise has one player representative that make up the governing body of the union known as the Board of Player Representatives. This role is selected at the beginning of each season to serve on the board for the duration of that campaign. These players represent the franchise, and are the nominated individual to bring forth anything to the union.

Below is the up to date Board of Player Representatives throughout the league.

ATLANTA HAWKS

Rep: John Collins

Alternate: N/A

BOSTON CELTICS

Rep: Grant Williams

Alternate: Jaylen Brown

BROOKLYN NETS

Rep: Kyrie Irving

Alternate: DeAndre Jordan

CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Rep: Devonte Graham

Alternate: Dwayne Bacon

CHICAGO BULLS

Rep: Luke Kornet

Alternate: Ryan Arcidiacono

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Rep: Dylan Windler

Alternate: N/A

DALLAS MAVERICKS

Rep: Dwight Powell

Alternate: Maxi Kleber

DENVER NUGGETS

Rep: Monte Morris

Alternate: Mason Plumlee

DETROIT PISTONS

Rep: Langston Galloway

Alternate: Thon Maker

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

Rep: Kevon Looney

Alternate: Eric Paschall

HOUSTON ROCKETS

Rep: PJ Tucker

Alternate: Russell Westbrook

INDIANA PACERS

Rep: Goga Bitadze

Alternate: Myles Turner

L.A. CLIPPERS

Rep: Terance Mann

Alternate: Mfiondu Kabengele

L.A. LAKERS

Rep: Danny Green

Alternate: Jared Dudley

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

Rep: Jaren Jackson Jr.

Alternate:

MIAMI HEAT

Rep: Meyers Leonard

Alternate: Duncan Robinson

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Rep: Sterling Brown

Alternate: Thanasis Antetokounmpo

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

Rep: Josh Okogie

Alternate: N/A

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

Rep: Nicolo Melli

Alternate: Nickeil Alexander-Walker

NEW YORK KNICKS

Rep: Taj Gibson

Alternate: Damyean Dotson

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Rep: Terrance Ferguson

Alternate: n/a

ORLANDO MAGIC

Rep: Jonathan Isaac

Alternate: Aaron Gordon

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

Rep: Tobias Harris

Alternate: Zhaire Smith

PHOENIX SUNS

Rep: Kelly Oubre

Alternate: Mikal Bridges

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

Rep: Damian Lillard

Alternate: N/A

SACRAMENTO KINGS

Rep: Harrison Barnes

Alternate: De’Aaron Fox

SAN ANTONIO SPURS

Rep: Derrick White

Alternate: Lonnie Walker

TORONTO RAPTORS

Rep: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Alternate: Fred VanVleet

UTAH JAZZ

Rep: Donovan Mitchell

Alternate: Miye Oni

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Rep: Bradley Beal

Alternate: Gary Payton II

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Last but not least is the executive director, who is in charge of all ongoing daily matters of the NBPA. Currently this is Michele Roberts, who was appointed in 2014 by the Board of Player Representatives.

What is the Salary in the NBPA?

Although a salary is generated for smaller roles within the NBPA, the executive committee is a volunteers based role.

Because of this, great leaders and recognizable names are usually appointed in order to make sure the union continues to function successfully in the best interest of the players.

HOW MANY PRESIDENTS HAVE BEEN ELECTED, AND HOW LONG WAS THEIR TENURE?

Below is a history of the NBPA Presidents. Due to the minimum required years in the position, there has only been 14 Presidents since the inception of the union.


PRESIDENT
TERMTEAM(S) AT TIME
1.Bob Cousy1954-1958Boston Celtics
2.Tom Heinsohn1958-1965Boston Celtics
3.Oscar Robertson1965-1974Cincinnati Royals / Milwaukee Bucks
4.Paul Silas1974-1980Boston Celtics / Denver Nuggets / Seattle SuperSonics
5.Bob Lanier1980-1985Detroit Pistons / Milwaukee Bucks
6.Junior Bridgeman1985-1988L.A. Clippers / Milwaukee Bucks
7.Alex English1988Denver Nuggets
8.Isiah Thomas1988-1994Detroit Pistons
9.Buck Williams*1994-1997Portland Trail Blazers / New York Knicks
10.Patrick Ewing*1997-2001New York Knicks / Seattle SuperSonics
11.Michael Curry2001-2005Detroit Pistons / Toronto Raptors / Indiana Pacers
12.Antonio Davis2005-2006New York Knicks / Toronto Raptors
13.Derek Fisher*2006-2013Utah Jazz / L.A. Lakers / Okalahoma City Thunder / Dallas Mavericks
14.Chris Paul2013-L.A. Clippers

As you can see, the NBPA plays a hugely important role in the function of the league we all know and love.

With players being able to protect their careers, and maximize their platform in order to make a difference, the creation of the NBPA has enabled the NBA to grow into arguably the greatest run sports league in the world. 

James

A basketball court was built in my local park and at 15 years of age I fell in love with basketball. A late joiner to the game, I have played every season since. Some Indiana friends bought me some Pacers gear for my 17th birthday, and I have supported them ever since (who wants to follow the crowd). I love American sports apparel and the presentation of sports, they do it so well (bar all the advert breaks).

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