The National Basketball Players Association has elected Michele Roberts as its new executive director.
Yahoo Sports and NBA.com both reported Monday that Roberts will take over the position, which had been vacant since former executive director Billy Hunter was ousted in Feb. 2013. Attorney Ron Klempner had served as interim executive director as the NBPA conducted a lengthy and charged search for Hunter's full-time replacement.
Roberts, a renowned Washington, D.C. trial lawyer, will become the NBPA's sixth executive director, and she will be the first female to hold the position. Her Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom law firm biography notes that she graduated from Wesleyan in 1977 and the University of California at Berkeley's Law School in 1980, and that she currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at Harvard Law School.
The NBPA's executive committee is currently led by Clippers All-Star guard Chris Paul, who replaced Derek Fisher as president in Aug. 2013. The organization is preparing for the possibility of new Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations with the NBA in 2017.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement congratulating Roberts on her hiring.
“On behalf of the NBA, I would like to congratulate Michele Roberts on her appointment as the NBPA’s new Executive Director and look forward to working with her and the NBPA Executive Committee to ensure the continued health and growth of our game," Silver said. "The partnership between our players and teams is the backbone of the league, and we are eager to continue working with the Players Association to build this relationship. I also want to thank Ron Klempner for his service as interim Executive Director over the past 18 months."
The decision to depose Hunter was made at a 2013 players meeting during All-Star Weekend in Houston, and it came in the wake of a damaging internal investigation into the players union's business practices which revealed a number of questionable business practices.
The internal investigation, sought by Fisher and conducted by the Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison law firm, produced a lengthy report that called into question the presence of Hunter’s family members on the NBPA’s payroll, the legality of Hunter’s contract, potential conflicts of interest and the possible misuse of NBPA funds.
Hunter, 71, had headed up the NBPA since 1996.