After a two-day meeting in Las Vegas, Chris Paul was elected as the new president of the player’s union. He becomes the highest profile head of the National Basketball Players Association since Patrick Ewing held the post in 2001.
Roger Mason had been petitioning for the position and appeared to be running unopposed, but Paul â€” who has been a vice president on the committee’s executive board for the last four years â€” said he’s been thinking of running and was speaking with committee members about the prospect.
“I’ve been thinking about (running) for a while on and off,” said Paul, and “I’ve had a lot of dialogue about it with committee members. I wouldn’t have taken on the role if I was going to do it alone.”
The decision has been praised after a difficult couple of years stemming from the owners’ 2011 CBA negotiations with former union president Derek Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter.
Last month, Paul re-signed with the Los Angeles Clippers for the maximum allowable, five years and $107.3 million. Paul is universally respected by the committee members and has the star power to be a significant figurehead in the position â€” unlike over the last 12 years since Ewing’s reign. He’s also smart enough to know he’ll need help in order to fulfill all the responsibilities the position entails.
The most pressing item facing Paul’s 18-month term is finding Hunter’s replacement for executive director. Neither Jerry Stackhouse, the union vice president until resigning this week, nor Paul has started the vetting process for the next candidate, or even named a consultancy that will lead that process.
“For us, it’s all about getting our house in order and making sure that everything moves right in that direction,” Paul said about future plans for the union.
The votes for president were cast by representatives from each team. After failing to become president, Mason was chosen as the first vice president. Paul will likely play a role for the player’s during the next phase of negotiations with the league surrounding HGH testing, said to be on Stern’s to-do list before he retires in February next year, and the NBA’s age minimum.
After the lock-out in 2011 resulted in the owners taking back a significant portion of league revenue while imposing harsher restrictions on player’s salaries, the executive committee voted to oust Fisher as president. He ignored that vote, and an independent investigation asked for by Fisher found that Billy Hunter had inappropriately allocated union funds during his tenure.
Hopefully Paul’s alter ego, Cliff, can help with the numbers and Paul’s rapport with the executive committee and the league’s coterie of superstars will translate into a new era of union solidarity.
How do you think Paul will do as union president?
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