Thursday, June 30th, 2011 at 9:40 am  |  35 responses

Shane Battier Wants Billy Hunter’s Salary to Be $1 During NBA Lockout

Like the NFL’s union leader DeMaurice Smith did, Shane Battier wonders aloud if Billy Hunter should do the same. Billy was reportedly not amused by the suggestion: “After Kevin Garnett delivered an inspired sermon in the NBA players union meeting a week ago, declaring his willingness to sit out the season and forfeit $18.8 million in salary, a far more measured voice spoke up with 60 rank-and-file players in a New York hotel ballroom. Shane Battier’s question, directed to Players Association executive director Billy Hunter, was simple: The NFL’s union leader, DeMaurice Smith, had agreed to take $1 in salary for the length of the NFL lockout. The mere suggestion seemed to offend Hunter, players witnessing the exchange privately told Yahoo! Sports. After Hunter told Battier he hadn’t given it much thought, members of the union’s executive board came to Hunter’s defense. Hunter had taken the union from the red to the black in his term, done a good job, they said. Hunter never did give Battier a firm answer, nor would he answer the question for Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday. Salary can be a touchy subject within pockets of the union, especially since it leaves some questioning the urgency and motivation for Hunter to work for a deal. Two years ago, Hunter had gone to the Players Association and asked that he be compensated for several years’ worth of unused vacation time. There was resistance to the request, but eventually the union board agreed to award him $1.1 million, the Sports Business Journal reported. Hunter makes a little more than $2 million a year as the union’s executive director.”

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Cheryl

    Interesting. I like Shane’s question.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Decent question, shady way to ask it.
    He basically did it in front of everyone to put Hunter on the spot. He ambushed him about it. Would have been better to approach him privately, then if he didn’t like the answer, bring it to the all the players, I think.

  • RunNGun

    I’m w/Shane.

  • http://slamonline.com biged

    i disagree with Allenp comment. if the players are will to not get paid, they should want to make sure the guy on their side isnt getting paid too. its a fair question. and thats why you have meetings like that, to discuss issues and that was clearly a basketball issue.

  • http://null.com Anon

    I disagree with Allenp. If you are supposed to be representing the players then they should know how committed to them you are. This was the right time to ask to avoid the he said she said and to let it be known and in the open

  • Riggs

    thats not a shady way to ask it, thats the best way to ask it. Seeing as how he ducked/avoided the question, you see where his priorities are.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Shane Battier 1 – Billy Hunter 0.

  • Jeremy

    Shane Battier for Commish.

  • izzo

    It’s a good way to ask it, if you never want or really expect it to happen. Battier asked the question to be a dissenting voice, to try and put a fire under Hunter. It shows Hunter that there are certain expectations of him and his eagerness to work for a deal from the players. I’m not sure how much this kind of public disagreement helps the players side. It shows the first signs of players(If Battier said it, more are thinking it) being apprehensive about losing money, that they want the lockout to end, that some may be willing to compromise. It doesn’t help.

  • izzo

    Having said that though, it’s probably better that Battier is asking these question that represent what the players are thinking, than Garnett playing the silly hyperbole card. Of course he can stand to lose next year’s salary.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max


  • bull22

    iam not moved by KG’s speech at all, of course he can afford to forfeit the entire season and its apparent billy hunter must have some bills to pay if he can’t give a firm answer….. if the whole NBA season goes to hades, i will definitely turn on the NBA, put some replacements in there and they will get back to work….

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Personally, I think when you are asking someone to take a pay cut, you ask them first privately.
    Otherwise, it feels like you are showing them up, at least it does to me. He could have asked Hunter, received his response, and then brought it up to the full meeting if he didn’t like the response. He basically asked him for a concession in a way that was designed to shame him into taking a certain stance.
    Plus, I don’t particularly trust Battier and his interests.
    Billy Hunter was hired to represent the player’s interests and is paid a salary to do that. Asking the question in this manner implies that Hunter is not interested in ending this matter quickly because he will get paid no matter what.
    That pushes forward the idea that a rapid fix is the best fix. If the players accepted the owners agreement right now, we would have basketball in the fall. But would that be smart? Is the owner’s proposal in the best interest of the players in the long term? I think the answer is obviously no.
    Battier’s question raised the implication that Hunter was not looking out for players, which only undercuts Hunter as he negotiates with owners because they can know run with that idea in their comments to the media, and probably drive a wedge between different factions of players.
    It’s fairly obvious from where I’m sitting that this wasn’t a “stand up” question, or the proper and smart way to handle things.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I don’t understand why anyone who gets paid as part of the players union would get paid during a lockout. – Billy Hunter makes his 2Million a year no matter what? That doesn’t seem right.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    co-sign nbk. Those players who would get the minimum won’t be paid during the lockout, but Hunter still makes his millions.
    That ain’t right. I always thought Hunter was kind of shady anyways.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    He’s a union rep.
    Don’t normal union reps get paid through dues from players? Players pay those dues through their paychecks
    He would continue to collect his salary based on accumulated dues. Is this different from how it normally works in unions?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    even the article noted that some folks thought battier was grandstanding

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I don’t know. I just don’t think it sounds right that he gets paid rain and shine, while the players get punished because the Owners aren’t responsible enough to make good business decisions.

  • izzo

    Allen: Plenty of players thought what Battier made a good point also. I think it’s bad leadership to just side-step the question altogether. Here’s a quote from a player re:Hunter:

    “Billy isn’t afraid to embarrass you in front of other players, if he doesn’t like your line of questioning,” an Eastern Conference player said. “He’s done a good job keeping us informed and fighting [NBA commissioner David] Stern, but I don’t need to be lectured by the guy. I’m allowed to ask a question.”

    I think Hunter has missed an opportunity to lead by example here. He could even have structured some kind of deal so he wouldn’t necessarily be losing money in the long term.
    If anyone is grandstanding in this whole thing, it’s Garnett. He’s a few days away from recording his own version of “This Land is my Land”.

  • bike

    Hunter should have responded with sure, no problem, as long as Shane agrees to do the same. And then Hunter could have told him that Shane still owes him union dues which will happen to be $1.00 of a Shane’s salary. Idiots, all of ‘em.

  • davidR

    if his salary is a reported $1, he’s gonna get a lot of tax breaks

  • LA Huey

    @bike, Shane’s a free agent. He’s not getting paid until he signs a new deal.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    We’ll have to agree to disagree here. I don’t like ambushing people about their money when you can at least talk to them privately before you spring it.
    I don’t understand why you don’t ask him man to man, then if you don’t like the answer, bring it to the group.

  • mark

    Union leaders are a joke and one of the reasons this country — and every other one in the world are in turmoil.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp


  • bike

    It’s time Billy introduced race into the equation. He did it back in 1998. Another example of the rich white man keeping the black man down. Furthermore, its a black man’s game with a lot of white fans. No good will come of this, no good at all.

  • seriousblack

    Drop dead, bike.

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER

    SHAWN BRADLEY COMIN SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    Bike, the entire issue is that during the lockout the players aren’t getting paid, so Battier is already making less than $1 while the lockout is on.

  • rikson

    Its always funny to hear people, who wont need to work another day bc of their money, discuss about the same and who gets more… mad world!

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    ^ You are assuming they’ve managed their money properly, which is highly unlikely for both owners and players.

  • davidR

    allenp, many unions do contribute to the economic problem. a lot of the employees that are protected proceed to do terrible work, on a high salary

  • olympus45

    How about David Stern not taking any of his 23 million dollar salary during the lockout along with Billy Hunter not taking his salary either.

  • raj

    agree with olympus45 – David Stern $23M salary !! how many players make more than that, 1 or 2 ?? Kobe alone perhaps ?? How many years can a player play and a commissioner play ? think LeBron and Kobe should start their own league.

  • lynda

    $1 is to high of a Salary. Actually s penny is more appropriate,. Also I would demand some change back.