The NBA lockout in 2011 showed a lot of warts from within the Players Union. Change had to come. In-fighting between several union members led by Union president Derek Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter showed a union that got a collective bargaining agreement they could live with but not one they were too thrilled about.
The new NBA collective bargaining agreement is still working its way into operation. There will be new players though helping its renegotiation and its implementation in the coming years. David Stern steps down as the league's commissioner in February and Adam Silver takes over. Silver was reportedly the lead negotiator during the lockout.
The Players Association will also have new leadership. Derek Fisher's term as NBPA President is set to end this summer. Jerry Stackhouse, the first vice president, has been handling most of the union's business this offseason. A new president is on his way. And, for the first time since the 1999 lockout, it might be a name you know.
Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports reports LeBron James is considering making a run for president:
It’s something he has talked about with a small group of people,” a source with close ties to James told FOXSports.com on Wednesday. “He was very vocal at the meeting during the All-Star Weekend about the need for the union to dramatically change. There is a new executive director coming in and new commissioner. He recognizes that this is the time for the union to change.
Indeed, the union does need some change. There was lots of in-fighting as players had to align themselves either with Fisher or with Hunter and neither side seemed like a winner. Maybe some new faces in the union's leadership could unite them and give them more bargaining power with the owners the next time around.
James has been involved with the union for a while now. While not taking a role on the executive board, James and several other players notably skipped out on the NBA's Day of Service at the 2011 All-Star Game in Los Angeles to attend the NBPA's meeting ahead of the lockout. James is a player that is concerned with his sports' future and the future for his teammates and fellow NBA players.
The source Whitlock spoke to said James is not likely to dive in and become president because he does not feel like he could give it his all. James has a lot of other responsibilities and interests he is pursuing.
James though would bring a considerable amount of clout to the next negotiations. The owners would have to respect James at the table and understand he is the money maker for this league — unlike say Derek Fisher, Roger Mason and Maurice Evans. The executive board last year were full of capable negotiators but also role players. Maybe not the players that would get the owners (who seemed particularly vindictive this time around) attention.
Past union presidents include Oscar Robertson, Isiah Thomas and Patrick Ewing. Currently Andre Iguodala, Stephen Curry and Chris Paul are vice presidents and on the executive committee. The stars are represented on the executive committee, but they are not the ones taking the lead, at least not in the current make up.
Whether James is serious or not about his formal union involvement, by allowing this nugget to get released, he is sending a pretty clear message that he wants to be involved and use his influence to help the players association grow.