Kobe Bryant Urges NBA Stars to Be More Active With Players Union

by February 06, 2013

The NBPA lies in shambles, and that in part has to do with the star players’ laissez-faire attitude. It’s time for that change, according to Kobe Bryant. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar admits that he’s also guilty of being too hands-off with the union, and that all players must now take a more active role. Per the NY Times: “Kobe Bryant, acknowledging that the union ‘looks like a mess,’ said it was time for the N.B.A.’s stars to take a stronger role as players deliberate the fate of Billy Hunter, the embattled executive director, and the direction of the union. Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers star, included himself in that mandate and said it was an issue he had been discussing with Chris Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers guard, since the 2011 lockout. ‘We might want to grab the bull by its horns, so to speak, and lead the charge a little bit,’ Bryant said Tuesday morning. At the time of the lockout, Paul was the only All-Star on the union’s executive committee, which was otherwise stocked with bench players and players out of the league. The committee has since lapsed into virtual irrelevance, with seven of the nine seats open, because the union has not held an election amid infighting between Hunter and Derek Fisher, the committee’s president. […] Asked if suspending Hunter was the right call, Bryant said, ‘I think so.’ But he declined to make any public judgment on Hunter’s fate, saying he had yet to digest the 469-page audit. ‘I don’t know where that’s going,’ he said. ‘I haven’t spoken to Derek to get any insight and see what he knows from his vantage point of what’s going on. But it just looks like a mess right now.’ The players union has a history of deep involvement by its star players, from Isiah Thomas to Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning. But the leadership jobs — both at the executive committee and player representative level — have generally fallen to the league’s middle class for the last 10 years. Bryant named himself, Paul and Kevin Durant — ‘the guys who are the face of the league’ — as stars who needed to take a greater role now.”