Being president of the National Basketball Players Association is a dirty job, but Roger Mason Jr. would like to be the man to do it.
Currently one of seven vice presidents on the NBPA's executive committee, Mason announced his candidacy via Twitter:
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the NBPA will meet in Las Vegas in August, at which point Mason—or perhaps another candidate—could be elected.
Derek Fisher came under fire for his questionable leadership during the 2011 lockout, and as his presidency expires this summer, the players association will be looking for a leader to help the union build its strength. Mason could be that leader, but he'll have to face off against some pretty rough competition to win the job.
If his words to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today are any indication, though, Mason is more than qualified to get the job done. Mason said: "What the NBPA needs is someone who is a representative of the majority of our players –somebody who understands where we've been, where we are now and where we need to go and I can humbly say that's me."
That sounds pretty presidential, don't you think?
Current first vice president Jerry Stackhouse emerged as an extremely vocal presence in the union during the lockout. He championed Fisher's ouster with some harsh rhetoric and showed a real commitment to helping turn around a floundering players association. His status as an 18-year veteran, combined with his likely willingness to engage in a fistfight with any other candidates for the position, appeared to make him strong contender.
But Stackhouse hasn't yet announced any formal plans to run for president, so perhaps Mason will have an easy path to power. In fact, it seems as though the NBPA might have already made a decision. Mason told Zillgitt: "As an executive committee, we've been pretty quiet, but steadily, we've been rebuilding the PA over the past six months, and we'll have some really exciting news next week after our meeting."
That certainly makes it seem as though the players have a pretty good idea of who they'll elect.
Interestingly, Mason is not currently under contract with an NBA team. So if he's ultimately the pick, the union could find itself in the bizarre position of having a leader that isn't technically a "player" at all.
Still, Mason fits the mold of a number of recent NBPA presidents in that he's a well-respected veteran who never really achieved star status on the court. Patrick Ewing was president until 2001, but since he stepped down, Michael Curry, Antonio Davis and Fisher have occupied the big chair.
Apparently, the president has to be a role player.
Aside from filling the presidential vacancy, the NBPA must also find someone to replace disgraced executive director Billy Hunter, who was fired in February after details emerged about some pretty sketchy business dealings. It probably also didn't help that the owners steamrolled the players during negotiations for the most recent collective bargaining agreement on Hunter's watch.
Credit Mason for wanting to take on a big responsibility in a time when the NBPA is in some pretty serious upheaval. That's a brave move.
Speaking of which, just to be safe, he'd better keep Stackhouse in his sights at all times.