The NBA Players Association has elected Washington, D.C., attorney Michele Roberts to succeed Billy Hunter as executive director. The league and Players Association announced the news Tuesday:
We’re thrilled the players selected Michele Roberts as #NBPA Executive Director! Congrats to our players & exec comm for a historic choice.— NBPA (@TheNBPA) July 29, 2014
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski noted the final voting numbers, which came from NBPA executive committee members and team player representatives:
Roberts had 32 of 34 votes, union official tells me now. Two abstained.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 29, 2014
While that is certainly an overwhelming majority on the surface, it still may not represent the preferred option of all players around the league. USA Today's Sam Amick noted the voting process was not easy:
Lots of frustration about this process. With only team player reps allowed to vote, players who aren't reps who came feeling voice-less.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 29, 2014
Roberts, an attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, is the first woman to lead a players union in any of the four major North American sports leagues.
One of the final candidates she was able to beat out was Dallas Mavericks President and Chief Executive Officer Terdema Ussery. CBS Sports' Ken Berger noted a peculiar detail that worked against him, however:
One player rep says Mavs CEO Terdema Ussery was hurt by his strong ties with league. "Smart guy, but that killed him," he said.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 29, 2014
As Wojnarowski reported, Roberts had the approval of NBPA President Chris Paul:
NBPA president Chris Paul has a strong belief in Michele Roberts, league sources tell Yahoo. Along with exec. committee, she's his choice.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 29, 2014
Al Harrington, currently a free agent, also seemed to be ecstatic about the hire:
Michelle Roberts.... CONGRATS. WELCOME TO OUR FAMILY!!!! #nbpa— al harrington (@cheddahcheese7) July 29, 2014
Roberts' resume is not short on accomplishments:
Her practice focuses on complex civil and white collar criminal litigation before state and federal courts and in administrative proceedings. Ms. Roberts has tried more than 100 cases to jury verdicts, representing clients in a wide variety of areas, including products liability, white collar, racketeering, securities regulation violations, Title VII issues and premises liability.
Jeff Berman put it simply, applauding the decision by the Players Association:
Michele Roberts is one of the best lawyers in America. Brilliant, thoughtful, powerful. Great choice by NBAPA. http://t.co/Ta9h5n54tn— Jeff Berman (@bermanjeff) July 29, 2014
After 17 months following the ousting of Hunter, the NBPA finally has a leader and can get back to tackling the issues surrounding the league.