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Players vote to oust Billy Hunter as union's executive director

HOUSTON – Billy Hunter was ousted as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association Saturday in a unanimous vote by the players' team representatives.

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Billy Hunter had been executive director of the NBPA since 1996. (Getty Images)

Player representatives voted 24-0 in favor of ending Hunter's stay with the union, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Six teams weren't represented at the meeting.

LeBron James took an active role in the meeting, and spoke in a strong tone to the players, saying the union was broken and needed to be rebuilt, sources said.

"LeBron really stepped up, led the charge," said one official in the NBPA meeting. "His voice was heard. It was great, and it was important."

Derek Fisher, who has been at odds with Hunter, will remain president of the union, but was aggressively challenged in the meeting by Brooklyn Nets guard Jerry Stackhouse. Stackhouse criticized Fisher for his role in the union's troubles.

[Related: U.S. Attorney's office investigating NBPA contract with investment firm]

Stackhouse was elected first-vice president. Miami Heat forward James Jones is secretary-treasurer. San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner, Los Angeles Clippers guards Chris Paul and Willie Green, New Orleans Hornets guard Roger Mason, Denver Nuggets guard Andre Iguodala and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry will make up the union's next executive committee.

Hunter's dismissal will likely set up a legal battle between him and the union for the remaining $10.5 million on his contract.

Hunter had been executive director since 1996. He has been under fire since an April Yahoo! Sports investigation into the union's business practices revealed Hunter had tried to persuade the NBPA to invest millions of dollars into a failing bank that had his son on its board of directors. The NBPA subsequently commissioned the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison to conduct its own probe of the union.

Among the firm's findings: Hunter failed to get proper player representative approval for his five-year, $15 million contract extension in 2010. The Paul-Weiss report recommended the union consider breaking ties with Hunter.

Shortly after the report's release, the union placed Hunter on paid leave until Saturday's vote.

The U.S. Attorney's office also is conducting a criminal investigation into the NBPA's practices under Hunter.

Hunter's lawyers have criticized the Paul-Weiss report and contend his contract is valid.

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