NBA players' union elects attorney Michele Roberts as executive director

Yahoo Sports
NBA players' union elects attorney Michele Roberts as executive director
NBA players' union elects attorney Michele Roberts as executive director

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.

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.

Roberts won over the players with a strong background as a civil criminal litigator and an 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 on a career NBA executive with strong ties with the league office, Dallas Mavericks CEO Terdema Ussery.

"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.

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