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.
Rep: John Collins
Rep: Grant Williams
Alternate: Jaylen Brown
Rep: Kyrie Irving
Alternate: DeAndre Jordan
Rep: Devonte Graham
Alternate: Dwayne Bacon
Rep: Luke Kornet
Alternate: Ryan Arcidiacono
Rep: Dylan Windler
Rep: Dwight Powell
Alternate: Maxi Kleber
Rep: Monte Morris
Alternate: Mason Plumlee
Rep: Langston Galloway
Alternate: Thon Maker
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Rep: Kevon Looney
Alternate: Eric Paschall
Rep: PJ Tucker
Alternate: Russell Westbrook
Rep: Goga Bitadze
Alternate: Myles Turner
Rep: Terance Mann
Alternate: Mfiondu Kabengele
Rep: Danny Green
Alternate: Jared Dudley
Rep: Jaren Jackson Jr.
Rep: Meyers Leonard
Alternate: Duncan Robinson
Rep: Sterling Brown
Alternate: Thanasis Antetokounmpo
Rep: Josh Okogie
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
Rep: Jonathan Isaac
Alternate: Aaron Gordon
Rep: Tobias Harris
Alternate: Zhaire Smith
Rep: Kelly Oubre
Alternate: Mikal Bridges
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Rep: Damian Lillard
Rep: Harrison Barnes
Alternate: De’Aaron Fox
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Rep: Derrick White
Alternate: Lonnie Walker
Rep: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Alternate: Fred VanVleet
Rep: Donovan Mitchell
Alternate: Miye Oni
Rep: Bradley Beal
Alternate: Gary Payton II
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.
|TERM||TEAM(S) AT TIME|
|1.||Bob Cousy||1954-1958||Boston Celtics|
|2.||Tom Heinsohn||1958-1965||Boston Celtics|
|3.||Oscar Robertson||1965-1974||Cincinnati Royals / Milwaukee Bucks|
|4.||Paul Silas||1974-1980||Boston Celtics / Denver Nuggets / Seattle SuperSonics|
|5.||Bob Lanier||1980-1985||Detroit Pistons / Milwaukee Bucks|
|6.||Junior Bridgeman||1985-1988||L.A. Clippers / Milwaukee Bucks|
|7.||Alex English||1988||Denver Nuggets|
|8.||Isiah Thomas||1988-1994||Detroit Pistons|
|9.||Buck Williams*||1994-1997||Portland Trail Blazers / New York Knicks|
|10.||Patrick Ewing*||1997-2001||New York Knicks / Seattle SuperSonics|
|11.||Michael Curry||2001-2005||Detroit Pistons / Toronto Raptors / Indiana Pacers|
|12.||Antonio Davis||2005-2006||New York Knicks / Toronto Raptors|
|13.||Derek Fisher*||2006-2013||Utah Jazz / L.A. Lakers / Okalahoma City Thunder / Dallas Mavericks|
|14.||Chris Paul||2013-||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.