The National Basketball Players Association is proposing to use millions of dollars of its share of the NBA's impending television revenue windfall to cover health-care insurance costs for its former players, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The plan is estimated to cost between $10 million-$15 million a year and a vote on passage of the union's initiative is set for the NBPA's July 20 membership meeting in Las Vegas. The union's 30 team player representatives are expected to pass the plan with ease and start the process of covering the retired players quickly, league sources said.
The NBPA has been researching the names and addresses of the approximate 1,500 living ex-players and hoping to offer three separate health-care options to them, sources said.
Stories of destitute ex-players needing basic medical care – including the inability to afford the likes of knee and hip replacements – moved executive director Michele Roberts, director of player relations Roger Mason and the NBPA's executive committee to probe the idea with the league's players, sources said. Several players told Yahoo Sports that they're enthusiastic over the idea.
The NBA is preparing to welcome a new $2.7 billion annual TV deal into its coffers in 2016, with team revenues and player salaries rising dramatically. The league was founded in 1946, and there are scores of living players who predated the explosion of salaries and revenue in the league.