Trending Topics

NBA Players Make Michele Roberts 1st Woman Union Chief in Major Sports

Michele-Roberts-Michele-A-RobertsMichele Roberts, a prominent Washington, D.C. civil litigator, was elected the first woman to lead a pro sports union when the NBA Players Association named her 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.

Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers recommended Roberts. She received 32 of 34 votes from the nine-member executive committee and team player representatives, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Roberts won over the players with her strong background as a civil criminal litigator and her unblemished character. She’ll be replacing the deposed Billy Hunter, whose tenure was marked with labor negotiation failures, corruption and ethical entanglements.

The players passed Dallas Mavericks CEO Terdema Ussery, who is a career NBA executive with strong ties with the league office.

“I liked her labor law experience,” one player representative told Yahoo Sports in a text message. “That was a priority for me.”

The process was littered with the NBPA’s usual dysfunction, including a late bid by player agents to push back the vote and further study the finalists–or possibly dump them all together. Nevertheless, the vote played out on Monday in Las Vegas and the union will start to move forward with a leader again.

Back to top