HoopsHype Michele Roberts rumors

September 27, 2014 Updates
September 26, 2014 Updates
September 24, 2014 Updates

Michele Roberts will be paid a base salary of $1.2 million as director of the union that represents National Basketball Association players, less than half of what her fired predecessor was earning. Roberts, 58, the first woman to lead a major U.S. sports union, said in a telephone interview that her base salary can be bolstered by annual $600,000 bonuses over the life of the four-year contract. The bonus is at the discretion of the union’s nine-member executive committee, which is led by President Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers. Bloomberg

“My first goal is to establish credibility with the players. I trust that they have some concerns about whether or not they are in for another round of bad management,” Roberts told the Daily News on Monday, her first official day on the job. “And the answer to that is, ‘Absolutely not.’ But the only way I can make that case is to meet them, make some promises and have them hold me accountable to those promises. My first goal is to go out and meet them so I’ll be doing a lot of traveling. “I’m sure there are people thinking, ‘Ahh, another politician-like person coming in trying to sell us a bunch of bull.’ And that’s my job to win them over, to tell them, ‘No, this time it will be different or fire me. I want you to if I even dare replicate my predecessor.’” New York Daily News

September 22, 2014 Updates

Former executive director Charles Grantham said it will be significant responsibility for the neophyte executive director. “The biggest challenge for [the NBPA] is the [potential] lockout,” said Grantham, who teaches at New York University and Seton Hall. “The question is for the last three times, there has been probably 15 or 16 givebacks or concessions that [the players’ union] made over this period of time that puts them at the bottom. “It starts with preparation and being prepared for this thing [a lockout] that we all know is coming. After three successive collective bargaining negotiations from management side, all that began with the [1998] lockout and put the union in a concessionary bargaining position. The day is gone when you used to be able to tell players to save money. You can’t do that.” Boston Globe

September 21, 2014 Updates

Former executive director Charles Grantham said it will be significant responsibility for the neophyte executive director. “The biggest challenge for [the NBPA] is the [potential] lockout,” said Grantham, who teaches at New York University and Seton Hall. “The question is for the last three times, there has been probably 15 or 16 givebacks or concessions that [the players’ union] made over this period of time that puts them at the bottom. “It starts with preparation and being prepared for this thing [a lockout] that we all know is coming. After three successive collective bargaining negotiations from management side, all that began with the [1998] lockout and put the union in a concessionary bargaining position. The day is gone when you used to be able to tell players to save money. You can’t do that.” Boston Globe

“One, the first challenge is again to get back to the concept that it’s got to be an institutional response — how does the institution create the protection for the players?” he said. “[Roberts’s] challenge is to rally the troops and unite the troops and get them into a position of understanding the business side of the sport, which is always the most difficult part because our players are very active playing in their careers and if they’re asked to do two things at once . . . [and] we expect that they know everything else about the collective bargaining agreement. “That road to having a four- or five-year NBA experience is a difficult one and we keep forgetting it’s in a fish bowl and they’re 19, 20, 21 [years old]. They are growing in front of our eyes but we expect them to make mature decisions. That’s the challenge, not to follow them but to lead them.” Boston Globe

September 10, 2014 Updates

Meanwhile, Roberts hasn't been able to start her new job yet because of obligations in her prior job and ongoing contract negotiations with union officials to formalize her deal. But the new challenge should finally be hers soon enough. According to a memo written by NBPA Secretary Treasurer/Cleveland Cavaliers guard James Jones and obtained by USA TODAY Sports, Roberts is slated to officially begin at the end of the month. Her contract, which will pay her $1.2 million annually over four years and could include an annual performance bonus of up to 50%, has already been approved by the NBPA's Executive Committee but must still be approved by player representatives from teams. USA Today Sports

August 24, 2014 Updates

Roberts said she is preparing for an interesting relationship with Silver, and won’t allow her gender to factor into her dealings with the NBA. “The work that I have been doing at my firms for the last 15 years, I represent corporate America, I represent very powerful people,” said Roberts, a lawyer in the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. “Financial institutions, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies — very, very powerful people. Many, I must confess, most of them were white and most of them were male. I’ve had to negotiate with them, I’ve had to fight with them, I’ve had to bargain with them. They trust me. I’m not intimidated by that kind of character, I have known them for years. “I also discovered at a certain level — and I include the owners and players in this— people are more interested in what you bring to the table, what you’ve got by the way of leverage than the fact that you’re wearing a skirt. I don’t spend much time reminding myself that most of the people I’ll be dealing with are men. It’s never worked for me to be conscious of it.” Boston Globe

August 16, 2014 Updates

(Michele Roberts) said she was all too aware that if she was selected, she would represent several hundred male athletes in the N.B.A.; she would deal with league officials and agents who were nearly all men; she would negotiate with team owners who were almost all men; and she would stand before reporters who were predominantly men. She did not flinch. “My past,” she told the room, “is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.” New York Times

August 11, 2014 Updates

Who is Michele Roberts' team? Roberts is humored by the question. "Do you really have to ask?" she asks, in response, on the phone Saturday. "I'm from the Bronx and have two older brothers. Of course it's the Knicks." NBA.com

Like many high-achieving African-Americans, and women of color, Roberts has been "the first" and "the only" most of her career, spanning three decades. You notice it, of course, but you don't define yourself by it. Entering the male-dominated world of the NBA was the same. "I never even thought about that," Roberts said. "I really didn't. I knew being a woman was going to be different. It never occurred to me that it would be of such significance. I think it was because a long time ago, I stopped worrying about that. When I started, there weren't that many women in the court. There weren't that many trial lawyers. Women were doing things that didn't bring them into the court room. It was a male dominated, often a white male dominated, job. I got over that a long time ago." NBA.com

August 3, 2014 Updates

Roberts was elected by 32 of the 36 player representatives, making her a barrier-breaker and also a neophyte in what has been a contentious relationship over the past several years. The NBA has sustained two major work stoppages over the past 16 years, including a 66-game lockout-marred season in 2011-12. With those issues on her mind, Roberts said she hasn’t had time to reflect on her groundbreaking position. And she won’t. She said she’ll be too busy preparing herself for the task of representing the league’s players entering a critical financial phase in which salaries could rise significantly with a new television contract. “I have continued professionally to reinvent myself,” said Roberts, who is a Washington-based lawyer in the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. “At one point I thought I was going to die a criminal defense attorney. And I haven’t done any criminal work in 10 years. I cannot recall being this excited in my life as I am right now. I quite frankly wish I could start tomorrow. “It’s exciting because you’ve got not long [but] a lot of promise and the resources to do it, but I’ve got players that are engaged that are making sure they are a part of [the process]. The energy is palpable and I couldn’t be more delighted.” Boston Globe

Roberts, who grew up in the Bronx and graduated from Wesleyan in 1977, understands the enormity of the position but don’t expect her to constantly broach the topic of being a woman. “I am more mindful of the fact that I am woman because people keep telling me,” she said. “I’m happy. I’m pleased. I’m delighted. I’m proud. I love that other woman can look at me and their daughters can look at me and see yes it is the case, that even in male-dominated sports, there is room for us. But I gotta be honest, perhaps I don’t understand the full significance of it. I’ve got an opportunity to do some great work.” Boston Globe

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