First woman selected as executive director of pro basketball union

August 05, 20142 minute read

Michele Roberts, a Washington, D.C., attorney, has become the first woman to head up a major North American sports union. She will serve as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association and was voted in by NBPA executive committee members and team player representatives. The first thing she did was announce that she would use a team approach.

Chris Paul, LA Lakers star and president of the association said. “Even though she’s a female, she’s very relatable to a lot of our players. I think that’s what really hit home for not only myself but some of these other guys as well.”

According to ESPN, Roberts said she would assemble a management team to run the union, perhaps even changing the union bylaws, before diving into negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. The players can opt out of the current CBA after the 2016-17season.

“They’ve got their union back, and I’m going to make sure that they are empowered to take their union exactly where they want their union to go,” Roberts said. “It’s going to be a team that’s going to empower them to be able to do their business as they decide.

“I am a bad woman, but I’m not that bad,” Roberts said. “We are going to have a team, a very strong team, what I call a team of gladiators, that’s going to help these men and women, again, go in the direction they choose to go. It’s a new day. It’s not a one-person, Superman, ‘I’ve got this.’ It’s going to be a team.”

Read more about Roberts in this Washington Post blog