It was quite a big surprise to see Chris Paul win the vote for the new president of the NBPA, elevated from his role as a vice president in the union. It’s even more of a surprise to see an NBA star in his prime taking the role and the responsibility of being the voice of the players.
Roger Mason seemed like the favorite to win the role, but the free agent, who last played for the New Orleans Hornets, but ended up remaining on the committee, along with Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Matt Bonner, James Jones and Wille Green, while seeing Steve Blake and Anthony Tolliver joining them at the executive committee.
The last time the union had such a prominent name leading them was in 2001 when Patrick Ewing took on the role, but that was at the very end of his career. Paul has been in the NBA for eight seasons, and is in the prime of his career. He is one of the league’s biggest stars and most recognized faces. It’s weird that someone who should also be quite busy during the summer with basketball camps and shooting commercials will also take on the important role of representing the players, which is usually something veterans with a much smaller roles on their teams tend to fill.
There’s also the issue of who replaces Billy Hunter. David Stern is trying to get Steve Mills, a former league and Knicks exec elected to the role of the executive director. Ron Klempner is someone who would easily find himself with the job, but insists on remaining in role as union Deputy General Counsel. If Mills is the candidate Stern prefers, with Stern clearly preferring to side with the owners on almost everything in the last two lockouts, the union should be worried about his candidate.
Stu Jackson, Fred Whitfield and Isiah Thomas are the other candidates for the role, but Hunter’s successor may not be hired until the February All-Star Weekend.