Washington, D.C., attorney Michele Roberts was voted in Monday as the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, succeeding the ousted Billy Hunter with 32 votes from the committee members and player representatives.
Roberts becomes the first woman to lead a major North American sports union.
“Today, we started out by telling the players how monumental today was,” players association president Chris Paul said (via ESPN.com). “We’ve never had this amount of players here for a meeting, to give their input and feedback. After all the hours and time our executive committee, along with an amazing search committee that helped throughout this process, it’s an unbelievable feeling to have the wonderful Michele Roberts now as a part of our team.”
Roberts said she would assemble a management team to run the union before starting negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. The players can opt out of the current CBA after the 2016-17 season.
“They’ve got their union back, and I’m going to make sure that they are empowered to take their union exactly where they want their union to go,” Roberts said. “It’s going to be a team that’s going to empower them to be able to do their business as they decide.
“I am a bad woman, but I’m not that bad. We are going to have a team, a very strong team, what I call a team of gladiators, that’s going to help these men and women, again, go in the direction they choose to go. It’s a new day. It’s not a one-person, Superman, ‘I’ve got this.’ It’s going to be a team.”