Billy Hunter Rumors
I didn’t see it then, but now I see it all from Nov. 19th 2004 (the night of the Brawl) until this bad relationship between me and the NBA ended I was fated to fail. I would say I was sorry but I would do it again so I attempted to explain myself. I wanted to say that I hated my life and constantly thought of ending it; I wanted to say Jim was trying to bully me; I wanted to just let it all out — my mom being checked into mental institution, my ex getting an abortion, my problems wanted to flow, but instead, I tried to intellectualize the situation. I wanted to try to have the public view me as a patriot for the millions of minor, non-violent, drug offenders who were serving minimum mandatory sentences, a voice for those who were afraid too of the system, but all I did was catch the ire of David J Stern and his lackey Billy Hunter.
But she also was brought in to try and clean up the mess and dysfunction left behind in the wake of the players forcing Billy Hunter out in 2013 “I do agree that, on one level, I was hired to be a fighter,” Roberts told The Post in a lengthy and candid interview inside the union’s Harlem headquarters last week. “Any executive director needs to understand that’s a part of what he or she is going to be expected to do. “But I think what is equally important, for me, is to repair what has been a foundation that has been subjected to some injury by, unfortunately, my predecessor. What we don’t have, and what we will have, is a management structure that is both able to interact with our counterparties with the league and elsewhere, but a structure that allows the players to do unequivocally what they want to do, and that’s run their own union…. They didn’t hire me, and they were not interested in hiring, someone to run things for them, to simply let them know what’s going on.”
Roberts begins the job next month, and she plans to essentially upend the union, which she dismissed as “a mom-and-pop shop” under her predecessor. “It was clearly run by Hunter without much input from other people,” she said during a long interview at her office in Washington. “It’s completely inconsistent with the way any entity, let alone any union, should be run.”
Roughly two dozen players and agents are intent on getting the NBA players union to push back the selection of its next executive director until July, sources said, out of concern about how the field of candidates were winnowed to the current two finalists, litigation attorney Michele Roberts and David White, executive director of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Player representatives were recently provided videos of and informational packets about Roberts and White and asked if they were ready to move forward. It has been more than a year since the players dismissed their previous executive director, Billy Hunter, for a variety of questionable business practices uncovered by an audit. The request of the player reps prompted approximately 20 players to send signed letters to union president Chris Paul stating they were not ready to vote. Some, but not all of the players, are team union representatives, a player union source said. “A lot of different reasons were given,” the source said. “They were signed by the players but you could tell they were written by their agents. When we reached out to see what was going on, the players weren’t as strong about their feelings as the letters were.”
The union gathered on Saturday for its annual winter meeting to handle the fairly important business of presenting the two finalists for the job of replacing the ousted Billy Hunter. Other than members of the executive committee, who pretty much had to be there, only about 30 players showed up. There are more than 400 players in the NBA, and surely at least 100 or so have been in town for various All-Star activities.
Screen Actors Guild executive director David White has emerged as the frontrunner to replace the disgraced Billy Hunter as the National Basketball Players Association’s executive director, league sources told Yahoo Sports. There had been debate within the NBPA’s executive committee about whether there will be a vote taken on Saturday at a Players Association meeting on a new executive director, but sources briefed on Saturday’s meeting agenda told Yahoo Sports that no vote is scheduled to be taken.
The NBPA has not announced Wior’s hiring, as it is not customary for the union to publicly divulge who it retains in non-staff positions. And while Wior no longer works for Fisher, the union’s decision to retain her nonetheless shines a new light on one of the key areas of concern about Hunter’s tenure: hiring practices. Meanwhile, the union continues to work with the Chicago-based executive search firm, Reilly Partners, in its search for a new executive director. Candidates are still being vetted, and the process has not yet reached the finalist stage, sources said.
Less than a year after Hunter filed his lawsuit, Wior has been retained on a temporary basis to assist with the NBPA’s winter meeting during All-Star weekend in New Orleans next month. While her involvement in union business is nothing new, the NBPA’s decision to retain her again is a sign that Fisher’s influence in union matters has outlasted his term as NBPA president and executive committee member. Fisher was replaced as president by Chris Paul in August 2013.
Wior played a behind-the-scenes role in the 2011 lockout while serving as Fisher’s Los Angeles-based publicist and business manager. A chasm developed between Fisher and Hunter, resulting in Fisher drawing attention to what he believed were improper business practices during Hunter’s tenure. Hunter was unanimously voted out as the union’s executive director in February 2013 on the heels of a damning report by a New York law firm. The report highlighted Hunter’s acts of nepotism and accused him of improper business dealings and putting his own interests ahead of the union’s. In May, Hunter sued the NBPA, Fisher and Wior for breach of contract and defamation. He is seeking at least $10.5 million in salary and benefits he was owed at the time of his ouster. Among other things, Hunter, 71, alleged that Wior conspired with Fisher to oust him as director and “vest control of the union.”
With a key hearing approaching in Billy Hunter’s lawsuit against the National Basketball Players Association, the union has hired one of the defendants in the civil case: Derek Fisher’s former business manager, Jamie Wior, three people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com. Wior and Fisher, the former union president, are co-defendants in a lawsuit that Hunter filed against the NBPA for wrongful termination. The lawsuit, which has been moved from Oakland, Calif., to Los Angeles, crosses the next legal hurdle this week with a hearing in LA Superior Court on the defendants’ motion to dismiss.
Hunter then makes a leap in his declaration to the court, characterizing Bryant’s phone call as evidence that Fisher had cut a 50-50 deal with the owners without Hunter’s knowledge or authority. “What Bryant and Pelinka were telling me is that a 50-50 deal had already been completed behind my back,” Hunter wrote.
Billy Hunter, the ousted former executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, has identified Kobe Bryant and his agent, Rob Pelinka, as the power brokers who pushed him to accept a 50-50 labor deal that Hunter claims was negotiated behind his back during the 2011 lockout. In a 21-page court filing this week in Hunter’s lawsuit against the NBPA, its former president, Derek Fisher, and his business manager, Jamie Wior, Hunter laid out the case for how he believes he was sandbagged by Fisher during the labor talks. Hunter is alleging defamation and breach of contract in the lawsuit, and Fisher’s alleged role in a so-called secret deal with the owners to end the lockout would be relevant if Fisher usurped Hunter’s authority as the sole bargaining agent for the players under the NBPA’s by-laws.
Howard Beck: In new court filing, Billy Hunter reiterates claim that Derek Fisher conspired w/NBA on a 50-50 revenue split during lockout.
Jeff Zillgitt: In declaration, Billy Hunter said Derek Fisher told him it was Kobe Bryant & his agent who had secret talks w/owners during lockout.