HoopsHype NBPA rumors

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

July 31, 2014 Updates

Sam Amick: New @TheNBPA exec. director Michele Roberts sent message to players today, vowing to make union "gold standard of sports unions" & giving thx. Roberts says her stated goal is "to assist in the advancement and protection of the rights and privileges of each member of the NBPA." Twitter @sam_amick

July 29, 2014 Updates

The National Basketball Players Association has elected Michele Roberts as executive director, making her the first woman to lead a North American male sports union. Roberts received 32 of 36 votes in a process that was completed in the early morning hours of Tuesday. The Washington trial lawyer defeated tech industry CEO Dean Garfield and Dallas Mavericks CEO Terdema Ussery in the final vote. The vote capped a long and arduous process to replace Billy Hunter, who was ousted in February of 2013. USA Today Sports

The National Basketball Players Association elected Michele Roberts, a prominent Washington civil litigator, as its executive director. Roberts, an attorney with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, is the first woman to lead a major North American sports league union. Yahoo! Sports

"Let's be clear: I'm sure there were people that noticed I was a girl," Roberts said in an interview session with reporters after the vote. "Having said that, I frankly wanted to address that question up front whenever I spoke with any of the members of the executive committee and the union. My sense was, the only thing people cared about was my resolve." CBSSports.com

Roberts was the recommendation of NBPA president Chris Paul and the nine-member executive committee, winning with 32 of 34 votes among committee members and team player representatives, sources said. Yahoo! Sports

"It shows how open-minded our players are," NBPA president Chris Paul said. "With any of the candidates, it wasn't about race or gender. It was about who was going to be the best person in that position. From day one in interviews, she tackled every question head first. ... There were tough questions she was faced with. She didn't back away from them. She didn't shy away from them. She told us her story, and it really sat well with us." CBSSports.com

Sam Amick: Stackhouse was forced to leave the meeting because of retired status. He's not happy about prospect of Roberts winning, if she in fact does. Twitter @sam_amick

July 28, 2014 Updates

Ken Berger: Player agents held a conference call today to commiserate over selection process. Same old divisions and dysfunction within union. On unrelated note, new bride posing for pictures down the hall from NBPA meeting in white-and-black wedding gown. #vegas Twitter @KBergCBS


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