The NBA and its players are getting a ton of extra money from the league’s brand-new TV deal, and the players are using some of their share to spread the wealth to those who aren’t in the league anymore. The NBPA announced on Wednesday afternoon that their player representatives voted unanimously to use union funds to pay for health insurance coverage for all retired players with at least three seasons of NBA service time.
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced today that its player representatives have voted unanimously to fund health insurance for all retired NBA players with at least three years of service in the league. This program is the first of its kind among North American professional sports. It also exemplifies the NBPA’s focus on the health and welfare of its current, retired and future members.
“The game has never before been more popular, and all the players in our league today recognize that we’re only in this position because of the hard work and dedication of the men who came before us,” said Chris Paul, NBPA President and nine-time All-Star. “It’s important that we take care of our entire extended NBA family, and I’m proud of my fellow players for taking this unprecedented step to ensure the health and well-being of our predecessors.”
The NBPA‘s health benefits for former players will be on a sliding scale of deductibles and co-pays based on amount of service time, and ex-players with at least 10 years’ experience will be eligible for coverage for their entire families. Players will be allowed to enroll this fall, with coverage beginning on January 1, 2017.
This is an unprecedented move for a major sports league’s players union. It will help hundreds of former players, especially older ones who didn’t have the resources that are available to players today in learning how to manage their money. With as much money as the league has coming in, this is a fantastic gesture on the part of the players.