LeBron James, the guy who is very good at basketball, is also the vice president of the NBA Players Association’s executive committee, which is currently in the midst of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. With a new $24 billion television deal, are the players asking for gold shower heads in the bathroom? Diamond-encrusted lockers?
According to The Associated Press, the top priority for the NBPA is helping retired players with things like medical benefits. The NBPA doesn’t want to adjust the current 50-50 split of revenue between players and owners as long as ex-players receive assistance with medical and educational expenses.
Deciding on how to divvy up the revenue pie was the biggest obstacle that led to the ugly lockout five years ago. But with that issue essentially taken care of this time around, negotiations have gone much smoother as both sides look to reach an agreement on a new deal before the Dec. 15 deadline to opt out.
For James, NBPA President Chris Paul and the rest of the union, taking care of those who are no longer playing is a worthy compromise for trying to recoup any of the financial ground lost during the 2011 labor dispute.
“We got a group of guys that are in there that know the negotiations, so any way to give back and try to help our former teammates and help former players and things of that nature,” James said. “Because we’ve all built this league together. No matter how big of a guy you were or if you were the 15th guy on the bench, we all built this league into what it is today. But it’s not just my idea. I’m not taking any credit for that. But it’s all part of the process.”
Usually, this is where your pal Cynical Dave would say, “Hmmm, people leaking a story that makes the players look good? Feels like a negotiation tactic to me. Get the public on the players’ side. And if the revenue share stays 50-50 but owners have to help with retired players, doesn’t that mean less money for them? Why would they do that? Nobody wants to help anybody here and the world is a bad place.”
But, that TV deal. Twenty-four BILLION dollars. There isn’t anyone greedier than people that already have millions of dollars, but it’s probably a heck of a lot easier to swallow the idea of helping retired players when you have, seriously, TWENTY-FOUR BILLION DOLLARS flowing into the league. If you gave me $24 million, not billion, I’d help a random stranger with medical costs, so this all seems plausible and good from the NBA.