The NBA players association elected Washington, D.C. attorney Michele Roberts as its executive director in a chaotic series of meetings late Monday night in Las Vegas, ending a 17-month leadership vacuum and disappointing many around the league who hoped to stave off the vote and search for other candidates.
Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted the following Monday while players and the executive committee were still congregated:
After presentations, player rep tells Yahoo he wants peers to abstain on NBPA vote. "…30 minutes is a quick turnaround for this decision." — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 29, 2014
The NBPA has elected Washington, D.C. attorney Michele Roberts as its executive director, source tells Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 29, 2014
The vote looked unlikely to go off as planned earlier in the day when a group of prominent agents as well as some former players advocated suspending the vote and selecting a new, more qualified field of contenders. One agent went as far as labelling the candidates and the situation as "a joke." The agents argued the finalists had no institutional knowledge of the NBA, and urged players to step back, reconsider their options and expand the candidate pool. ESPN reported Monday night players were gathered at a hotel to vote on a new leader from among Roberts, D.C. attorney Dean Garfield and Dallas Mavericks executive Terdema Ussery.
Former NBA player Jerry Stackhouse, who showed up to criticize the search process and speak with players privately during breaks in the meetings, was apparently 'fuming' at the executive committee's decision to support Roberts.
The NBPA executive committee earlier Monday had expressed confidence a vote would take place that day. Secretary-treasurer James Jones assured USA Today the candidate search process was both efficient and thorough. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player and erstwhile leader of the NBPA leadership search committee, appeared to refute this claim when he walked away from the search process citing "a philosophical difference in how the search was handled in its later stages."
Former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter was fired in February of 2013 in the wake of a series of allegations ranging from nepotism to misappropriation of funds.
- Will Green