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Report: NBPA, G League to Talk Union; Hope to Increase Salaries, More Benefits

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 22: Naz Mitrou-Long #30 of the Salt Lake City Stars handles the ball against the Delaware Blue Coasts during the NBA G League Winter Showcase at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 22, 2018. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Isaac Brekken/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA Photos/Getty Images

The NBPA and G League players are slated to meet later this month to discuss unionization, which would make the G League the first minor league sports organization in the United States with a union.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the talks are expected to ramp up at the G League Showcase in Las Vegas. 

“We support the players’ right to unionize,” G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim said. “We view this as a positive thing and are looking to continue to grow our league for the players to develop and accomplish their dreams.”

Unionization would be aimed at "increased salaries for players, freedom of player movement, work benefits, and having a voice on their behalf on issues of discipline and contract structures."

G League players currently earn a base salary of $35,000. There are also players on two-way contracts who earn $77,250. Both numbers pale in comparison to the minimums afforded to NBA players, though the salaries compare favorably to other minor league sports, most notably minor league baseball.

The league has attempted to make the G League a more viable league of its own by slowly increasing salaries while nearing one-to-one representation with NBA teams. The NBA also announced a new G League team set to play in Mexico City as the league expands its reach outside the United States.

“Travel, housing, a little more money—it’ll be about small gains,” a G League general manager told The Athletic. “The G League probably doesn’t generate enough revenue for wholesale changes unless we tap into the NBA’s BRI (basketball related income), but unionizing can be a start.”

The NBA and a G League union would have to negotiate their own collective bargaining agreement if they choose to unionize.