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Thursday, August 1st, 2013 at 11:00 am  |  73 responses

LeBron James Could Run for President of NBA Players Association


by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

The NBA’s best player and its biggest star, according to multiple reports, could be looking to head the players’ union.

LeBron James played a critical role in the ouster of former union executive director Billy Hunter, and he’s said to be mulling a bid for the union president gig.

Per Fox Sports and ESPN:

“It’s something he has talked about with a small group of people,” a source with close ties to James said 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.” Derek Fisher’s term as president expired this summer. It’s unlikely that Fisher, who recently signed a new contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder, would retain the presidency since he is facing a lawsuit from the union’s former executive director, Billy Hunter, and because Fisher is at the end of his career.

James is giving a run “some very heavy thought,” one source said. The biggest consideration for James will be the time commitment being the union president would require. James has limited time to give because of sponsorship and charity commitments in addition to playing. Deep playoff runs with the Miami Heat the past three seasons have also been taxing. Still, James has been investigating the issue with advisers and fellow players this summer. “It’s a very important position for where things are going,” a source close to James said.

Jerry Stackhouse, the players’ association first vice-president, has been the main point of contact for union activities this summer. There could be an election to determine the next union president during the annual summer meeting in Las Vegas later this month. Since Patrick Ewing’s reign ended in 2001, role players have led the NBA’s players union and that has hurt their leverage at the negotiating table with owners and the League.

If LeBron James runs and wins the post, he would become the first in-his-prime union president (and superstar) since Isiah Thomas in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

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  • Feez_22

    Hmm… I think the player’s union needs a non superstar who can identify with the issues a majority of players have v. a superstar’s perspective.

    Shane Battier anyone?

  • shockexchange

    The fact that The Kang would even mention this publicly means he has too many “yes men” around him. Kang, stick to “The Rules” and leave the politics alone. Has the Shock Exchange ever steered to wrong so far?

  • bike

    How about Lin? Different perspective, Harvard grad, and Asian…LeBron’s simply too big for that.

  • shockexchange

    Not a good look. Lin’s contract is probably going to be a major topic of discussion during the next CBA.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    huh? it’s the players association president, not the United States President. I think LeBron is the exact player the owners don’t want running that organization. The best player in the league attending every meeting, and being involved in every decision? That gives the players a ton of leverage.

  • MUBWAR

    identifying with a majority of players is 1 thing but having the best baller in the game as the players association’s prez makes the owners vigilant

  • shockexchange

    The Kang outta his rabbit ____ mind. This is politics. Some of the players are going to love him and even more are going to hate him. The owners are going to drive a wedge by offering a deal that appeals to the mediocre players – which happens to be the majority of the L. There’s nothing wrong with the Kang attending the meetings, but in no way should he be out front. He doesn’t need the headache and it will detract from his game. There’s a reason why past presidents have been mediocre players or players way past their prime.

  • robb

    What a joke. You need a prepared, smart guy like Shane Battier to do it. You also need time. You can forget about that.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    .Bob Cousy: 1954–1958
    Tom Heinsohn: 1958–1965
    Oscar Robertson: 1965–1974
    Paul Silas: 1974–1980
    Bob Lanier: 1980–1985
    Junior Bridgeman: 1985 – February 1988
    Alex English: February 1988 – October 5, 1988
    Isiah Thomas: October 5, 1988 – February 13, 1994
    Buck Williams: February 13, 1994 – September 15, 1997
    Patrick Ewing: September 15, 1997 – July 10, 2001
    Michael Curry: July 10, 2001 – June 28, 2005
    Antonio Davis: June 28, 2005 – November 19, 2006
    Derek Fisher: November 19, 2006 – present
    .
    .
    Star players have led the player’s association while being stars in the past.

  • robb

    me

  • pposse

    Lebron basically said at one point that he was in favor of contracting the league. How can the mediocre players in the league trust that he has their back %100.

  • shockexchange

    Since Ewing was President, the relationship between the owners and players has gotten extremely contentious – Hatfields v. the McCoys. The Shock Exchange bets Ewing regrets being President during that lockout. He also happens to be that “great player” who can’t get a head coaching job now.

    Kang, go to the meetings and participate, but when the shots get fired you need to hide behind the PA President. You becoming PA President is not part of “The Rules.” Break “The Rules” and you will pay. Shock Exchange out.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com/ Dutch Rich

    Bad fit, not accessible enough to run the workers army.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com/ Dutch Rich

    Just right about after “him” is when you should have stopped typing.

  • ChosenOne

    I’m all for it. Would be nice to see a star player at the helm.
    But man, won’t his schedule be loaded if he does get this job? He already attends charity events, he will be in deep playoff runs nearly every year, plus all the commercial/endorsements he has going on may be too much and may give a half-hearted effort. But if he’s willing, then why not have the most captivating figure in the league be at the forefront?
    Good on you man…

  • shockexchange

    Not sure what you’re implying guy. Hard to take anyone seriously who speaks in 1st person. *Welp*

  • shockexchange

    Coming from the same guy who used Wilt Chamberlain and Horry Jr in the same sentence. *Welp*

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    to think, you almost had a multiple comment discussion without breaking into full on fantasy land.

  • ChosenOne

    Ah Ralph, we meet again.
    You and I know too well that that is not an outlandish statement.
    But that ship has sailed now… let’s stick to the topic at hand

  • JibbsIsBallin

    Come on man, this isn’t for him. Focus on being the best player and stay the F*&K out of politics.

  • JibbsIsBallin

    Shane Battier, Chris Bosh, Chauncey Billups…there are a few handful of players that should take this role, but not Lebron.

  • shockexchange

    Rick Ross: “What do you think of this verse? ‘Dropped a molly in her drink and she ain’t even know it.’”

    UnchosenOne: “That’s what’s hot in the streets Rosay! I’m all for it!”

    Yeah, and look out that turned out. *Welp*

  • Feez_22

    Not chris bosh. Chris may not be a superstar but is an all star and is paid like a superstar. Thus, he also may not identify the issues the majority of nba players have.

  • Feez_22

    Owners really don’t get vigilant or intimidated by a star player in the negotiating room. Most if not all of these owners have been in some sort of negotiations in their own businesses with corporate representatives from high ranking, multi-million/billion dollar enterprises. The cba meetings are nothing but an extended one of those negotiations except with their employees.

    Look at the NFL. I do not think nfl owners were intimidated because drew brees, a high level superstar in the nfl was representing the players along with demaurice smith. A number of players questioned why drew brees, a guy that just signed a mega extension was there and if drew would have the perspective to fight for all nfl players.

    Look at the comment ppoose just posted earlier. Lebron actually once favored league contraction. He said it would be great for the league because it would “not be watered down” and “it can go back to the 80′s where you had three or four all stars, three or four superstars, three or four hall of famers on the same team”. What else would contraction do? Shrink the nba player pool. What about the 2nd round rookie trying to get a shot? contraction lessens his ability to make it in this league because of the lessening of roster spots. This is what i mean by having a superstar perspective versus a player that can actually identify with the issues the majority of nba players have.

    Lebron is one of my favorite players in the nba. I like to watch him play. However, he just wouldn’t be the best player to be president. If i were an nba player, i’d want the best guy.

  • ChosenOne

    “Kob’s a livin’ legend and I’ll tell you why/Everybody wanna be Kob and Kob’s still alive”

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    That was over 2 years ago. Quite a lot has changed for him since then. The biggest thing that has changed is his place in the league. He’s no longer the best player who can’t win or is trying to win. He’s the best player who’s had two of the best seasons ever and is firmly in place as the face of the league. Different mindset for a different player and different man.

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    Battier himself has talked about how sharp LeBron is. He’s a smart guy.

  • Rig Veda

    I don’t think he can handle the pressure nor political wills to make a different.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com/ Dutch Rich

    Here’s the deal. Just please for your own sake, go into those Lebron Rules of yours and at the very least correct some of the grammar. I’ll give you a pass on the content. Until that’s done you really shouldn’t plug that piece anymore.

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    LeBron with Chris Paul as VP. Shane Battier behind the scenes too when needed. Remember reading about D-Wade going at David Stern in a meeting during the lockout. There’s no back down in any of those guys. The only thing would be his time. I think it’s great that star/superstar players want to be more involved with the union. Pretty loyal dude when you look at his friends and what he’s done for them (fools who wish to talk about him leaving Cleveland as a sign of disloyalty are misguided).

  • pposse

    Sooo…Lebron is now not in favor of contracting the league? Doubt it. I fail to see how his position on that changed in two years?

  • ChosenOne

    Couldn’t agree more. LJ has done a lot for his friends, such as making one his agent. He is loyal to his guys, and this might reflect on being loyal to the other guys he competes with on the hardwood.

  • pposse

    Off the top of my head i would say David West.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    That song in general was hot garbage.

  • JibbsIsBallin

    There is no question Lebron is smart. Or at least he is smart enough to have certain people around him. Look where the guy is at today since 2002.

  • shockexchange

    You know how hard it is to craft such an important document on clay tablets? The Kang understood it and committed it to memory. That’s all that matters.

    And quit speaking in 1st person like that.

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    No one knows or can speak definitively about what’s in another man’s mind. But I don’t think you’ve read much or heard much about how he changed after losing to the Mavs in 2011. He’s matured quite a lot. Getting married next month. He’s humbled himself. His entire mindset has changed. 24 months is a long time. In two years, he’s gone from being ridiculed and seen as a failure to being thought of as a top 10 all-time player with the possibility of being top 5. So things change in 2 years. People change their minds daily. It’s possible his thoughts are different now than they were then about contracting the league.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com/ Dutch Rich

    Lmfao

  • pposse

    exactly no one knows what is going on his mind. What we do know, is what he said. At the end of the day, there was a lockout before the 11-12 season due in large part because of the formation of the big three in Miami. All of that goes against him in his bid for Presidency. This has nothing to do with how he matured. No one is thinking less of him cause cause he wants the league contracted, that opinion is shared by many, but a guy with that mind set should not be trusted by players like Seth Curry or anyone who is a borderline NBA player.

  • spit hot fiyah

    how about eric bledsoe? eric b. for president!

    old school heads recognize

  • bike

    How about DeMarcus Cousins? Give him a shot, see what he’s made of.

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    …What he said 2 years ago. You’re not giving him credit for having the ability to change his mind. I’m going off of the fact that other things in his mind have changed. So this could change as well.

    If he was still selfish enough to just think of himself and his teammates or just think of the big market teams or even just his star friends, would he have spoken up during the union meeting at the All-Star Game? Highly doubt it. He could have stayed quiet or not even gone to the meeting at all. What does Billy Hunter have to do with him and the Heat? They were good regardless of what Hunter was doing. Meaning he obviously was thinking about the entire league of players when he spoke for getting rid of Hunter and changing the union. He reportedly cross-examined attorneys in that meeting. So something has changed.

  • pposse

    the actions the Miami Heat took (which include Lebron, Wade, Bosh plus Pat Riley and Micky Arison) has a direct correllation to the lockout…this is fact. It has direct correlation to the higher luxury tax teams have to pay too. The players all knew what they agreed to or should have known when they started playing ball again.

    Billy Hunter if anything was a scapegoat. Personally, I’m not in favor of a guy that has a lot more to gain being the President of the players union over a guy that has a lot more to lose. Lebron regardelss if he is good or bad at the job will lose nothing if he is in fact bad; he can only gain notoriety, fame, more publicity, potentially more money etc. (if he’s good, hell even if he is bad he will get all that too) From the outside looking in that, is just not the guy for the job.

    Also, what he said 2 years ago is his opinion until he states otherwise. There is absolutely no reason to believe he feels differently about it. What does he care if teams like the Bobcats or Magic or other teams get any success. None of that will directly line his pockets, not significantly atleast.

  • shockexchange

    Bill Hunter – “Give him free.”

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    Haven’t heard a word yet, but didn’t hear a negative word about LeBron speaking up at the union meeting at the All-Star Game. If anyone had something to say about it, it would have gotten out. Therefore, apparently, no one is really holding anything against the Heat for what they did as far as the players go. Owners and GMs? Yes. But the players didn’t say a word that got out about those guys teaming up. Some of them are trying to get on teams who tried to get a big 3 like Miami did so that they can win a championship.

    The lockout was a joke. Don’t get it twisted. What led to the lockout was greed. And what kept the lockout going so long was greed. People predicted it before the Big 3 even came together. They knew that when the old CBA ran out, the owners would attempt to get a higher percentage of the BRI. Greed of owners who wanted to take more money away from the players. It wasn’t about the Heat. The players just wanted to play again. They took the deal that was on the table because more than anything, they wanted to go to work. They knew they were going to get the short end of the stick which they did. The deal favored the owners. They mostly got what they wanted. Owners who are able to will play the luxury tax will do it regardless of how high it is. Look at the Nets now. They want to win now. So they’ll pay whatever they need to pay.

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    Also, in regards to the Heat and the luxury tax from the CBA deal…players who want to win will take less money to do it. If the best player in the league will take a less than max deal to do it, role players will take less money as well. Doesn’t matter what the CBA deal tried to do with small market teams. If guys don’t want to go to those teams as free agents, they’re not going. They’ll go to bigger market teams and take less money. There isn’t a thing anyone can do about it.

  • pposse

    Look at the Nets owner and check out who he is. Look at Micky Arison who will go out, and has in the recent past stepped out and complained publicly about how his team is not making any/ enough profit. The owner’s aren’t dumb, since afterall it is their business. If you were an owner you would have also paid attention in 2005 when Lebron, Bosh, Wade, all ‘suspicisously’ took less than max deals with their respective teams (5 yr instead of 6 yr max) which coincidentally made them all UFA’s in 2010; unlike Carmello who took the 6 yr max, who by the way was publicly told by Wade and Bron not to do so. The script was there if you were looking for it, the owners did.

    Yes greed prevailed, but the small market teams semi ‘won’ by noticing what is going on and atleast get these luxury taxes come in their way as a result. Superstars banning together hold just as much resposibility to the lockout as the big market teams who were greedy enough to pay for them. The only difference is that the superstars didn’t see it coming.

  • robb

    Oh he’s not stupid by any means, but this type of position requires a different kind of intelligence, and it also demands a lot of time to do it right. Maybe he could be only the face of the association and someone like Battier could be working behind cameras and getting things done. That could work

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    It was 2006. And there was nothing suspicious about it. Throw the conspiracy theories out the window. They were smart enough to take deals that would allow them to still leave when they were in their prime years (barring injury) if the players around them weren’t good enough. And they were right to do so. Melo made a bad decision and as a result, tried to get out of Denver before his deal was up. And lucky for him, he was able to.

  • pposse

    Their RIGHT (as you put it) = GREED. Greed is not just about money.

    Melo’s decision was traditional, although subjective, its highly doubtful he pulls the same move if the big 3 didn’t happen first.
    05/06 season my bad.

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    You can’t be saying LeBron, Wade and Bosh were being greedy…

  • pposse

    your right 2 superstars (arguably 2 best basketball players at the time of signing) and one bonafide all star on the same team is not greedy at all.

    If your trynna say they took less, that is hella exaggerated. Florida state taxes for individuals are 0; im not going to do the math on how much they actually lost with the deals they signed. Bosh more than likely gained money by going there.

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    Typical Bulls fanatic. If one of them decided to play for the Bulls, you would keep your mouth shut and not say a word about them being greedy. If LeBron or Wade were in Chicago with Rose, you wouldn’t say a thing. This is hilarious.

    I don’t even care about the money. The fact is that they all decided to play together when they could have gone elsewhere and made more money and continued to get eliminated in the first or second round of the playoffs. Wade, who was a top 5 player, sacrificed quite a bit. More than the other two. It was about winning. Bosh gained 2 championships which is most important obviously. But he lost the respect that comes with being a 20 and 10 guy every season. Step into reality. Nothing they did was selfish or greedy.

    You can’t have it both ways. It’s a lose-lose situation with some folks. Had they gone elsewhere and played for teams that didn’t get to the Finals, they would be seen as failures or disappointments, especially LeBron. But they play together and win two in a row, and people like you are talking about them being greedy for deciding to play together. You’re completely off base. We can also talk about the fact that them getting together didn’t guarantee anything. They have worked for everything they’ve gotten. It’s been a struggle especially with Wade getting hurt in the playoffs. And them losing against the Mavs. So nothing was written in stone when they joined up. Complete idiocy for anyone to call them greedy. But anyone who doesn’t play for the Bulls is subject to all kinds of ridiculous comments from you huh?

  • AlbertBarr

    LeBron hangs out with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. I think he could handle the negotiating room and the politics. Everyone on here saying he can’t handle the commitment—LeBron makes an insane amount of money. I don’t think it would hurt him to work even harder than he does now. I also don’t think the time commitment has as much to do with preparation and personally writing contracts and the like but just being present. There will be an executive director and teams of lawyers and VPs and lots of other people to do the leg work. As president he can take more of a figure head role with his stature in the league. He doesn’t have to be the most brilliant man ever and personally transform the Players Association radically to be successful. He just needs to give the position gravitas.

  • pposse

    you mean if TWO of them played for the Bulls? lol..and you’re right I probably would keep shut about it and laugh..you know why? cause i’m greedy too sucka!

  • chyea

    It’s quite obvious that the union is there to protect the average player. No fan shows up to a Miami Heat game to watch Shane Battier – they show up to watch LeBron James. If there wasn’t a union, the stars would BY FAR get the lion’s share of the money. So no, the players should know that LeBron probably isn’t the best guy to represent their interests.

  • Evan Boland

    Bill Monsanto Gates

  • raw

    cousins is too mature for the gig lol

  • mohammed

    lol

  • Damjan Vlastelica

    Definitely should be a non-star although Lebron would be best placed to leverage the PR help of outside forces (Jay-z, Buffett etc.) to help further the players cause if he so wished and if such a move would ever make sense. However if Lebron does get the role I imagine that the removal of a salary ceiling (maximum salaries) may come onto the table, and that addressing the League’s lax PED policies will stay as a middle of the road priority (unfortunately I have a suspicion that I am only somewhat joking)

    Anyway as the current best player, Lebron wields a lot of power anyway. I imagine that there would be some conflict of interest issues if he were to grow and solidify that power through holding this post. Not sure that someone whose stated goal for some time now has been to be the first Billionaire athlete in North America is the best representative for the middle of the road NBA player, let alone a player on the NBA’s fringe.

    And as much as I like the dude, he’s been symbolic of some of the leagues shadier / sleazier trends recently: superteams, agent switching, PED speculation, stars demanding GM’s make bad long term moves to improve the short term prospects of winning while threatening to walk in free agency and then leaving that team, miscalculated use of the media to grow your brand etc…..

  • Nathan Shane Long

    Lebron needs to just stick to being the best basketball player in the world and the last time i checked i thought you have to be educated to be president of the NBAPA Lebron did not even go to college so what degrees does he have

  • King David

    hope nobody votes for this clown

  • King David

    lmao

  • Conor

    Yes indeed. Or Steve Nash.

  • ATL dynamite

    Chris Bosh? Tim Hardaway disagrees

  • TheRealness

    The NBA baby LeBron too much. He’s a good player but please stop it.

  • smith stopped, smith blocked.

    javale !

  • Feez_22

    nooo pposse. That is not a fact. The nba lockout had much more to do with basketball and non basketball related income versus what the heat did with the big 3. Stuff like tv contracts, hiding revenues on the books and teams acting like they weren’t making money when they were due to tv deals and such. You just see the correlation because the lockout happened a year after the big 3. The lockout would have happened regardless of the big 3.

    The big 3 formation along with other teams going over the tax multiple years (lakers, knicks, etc) pretty much led owners and players to agreeing on a more punitive luxury tax which was agreed on in the summer. that wasn’t a huge issue to deal with. The lockout extended into the fall/winter because the players didn’t want to go from a 57% share in basketball related income to a 43% share. The owners wanted the 57% share and totally hid accounts from their books to get it. They eventually settled on a 50-50 split in income but it took months of negotiations to get there.

    To say the big 3 is directly correlated why the lockout happened like it was a big reason to the lockout is pretty short sighted. The nba owners pretty much let the nba know there was going to be a lockout in 2007… yes, they were preparing for the lockout for a LONG time and got what they wanted because they were way ahead of the curve than the players union in terms of tactics to get an equal/bigger share of BRI. If you look deeper into it, the max contract, length of contracts, rookie scale contracts, poison pill designations and partially guaranteed contracts ALL were bigger issues than the big 3 to the owners.

    The big 3 pretty much made dan gilbert, mark cuban and a lot of opposing fans who didn’t get lebron/wade/bosh salty. The decision and the parade pre-ring compounded it for FANS. The majority of owners could give a damn about that. the owners care about money and the big 3 really does not affect the money of the majority of nba owners so… you should do some research on it before you go and put out a blanket statement like that.

  • Feez_22

    lol

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    He’s top 10 all-time right now…more than just a good player.

  • pposse

    never said it was the only correllation, just that it was one, i did say it was a major one, and I stand corrected, thanks.

    I would like to say, there was still a minority ownership that were mad about it. And what about the small market teams? How can the Bobcats owner be cool with the formation? The new luxury tax is a killer, no owner especially Micky Arison wants to even pay it; a big three like Bosh, Lebron, Wade will never happen again unless its the Nets (because of the owner) or the Lakers (because of their owners). Addressing that in the new CBA ( a la luxury tax) is enough proof. This Ishmael character (what name will he go under in 2 weeks? and what icon will he come with next…stay tuned) got me all off topic, ending his conclusion that i’m some sort of bulls ‘fanatic’ and that being the sole reason why Lebron should not be the President.

    I only brought up the lockout and the luxury tax, cause if Lebron is not in favor of one of the things that the majority of everyone involved in the NBA are in agreement with, then how can he be thought of as good representation for the players.

  • Feez_22

    I agree about lebron not being a good rep. for sure.

    However, lets be honest in the landscape of the nba. Every year, maybe 4-5 teams have a legitimate shot at an nba championship. Some minority owners only had a problem because of money. They thought that if you have to stack teams or go way over the tax, you should be charged more. Why? Not necessarily because they feel like they are being robbed by talent since big superstars almost never go to small market teams… They wanted more punitive measures because the tax money teams pay is split between the teams that do not pay tax. It is just a money thing.

    Also, i disagree on your superteam thing. No matter what, the large market teams will continue to go over the tax to field superior talent. The lakers, knicks and nets will and the heat will continue to be over it as long as they have the big 3. As long as these teams have humongous TV deals (the lakers/knicks have them and the heat/nets are negotiating on their mega deals) they will go over that tax. luxury of being a big market team. The bulls are over it atm as well but their owner will probably break the team up and go under it because he cares more about the white sox than the bulls. He’d sure as hell spends for the white sox (9th highest team salary this year). Luxuries of being a big market team.

  • JibbsIsBallin

    Exactly. The guys that get signed mid season for 10 day contracts the guys that are sitting on the bench 99% of the time. I don’t think Lebron would have any idea what its like from their perspective.

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