(LAS VEGAS) -- Washington D.C. attorney Michele Roberts has been voted in as the new head of the National Basketball Players Association, making her the first woman to lead a major North American sports union.
After many hours of debating Monday, NBPA executive committee members and team player representatives cast 32 votes in favor of Roberts as the successor to Billy Hunter, who was removed from the position. She needed only 26 votes for election.
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 2016-17 season, and Roberts wants to do everything in her power to prevent another lockout from happening.
"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."
Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul said the entire players' union was impressed with Roberts' ideas for the future.
"One particular member from our search committee...asked her a very tough question in the interviews and [vice president] Roger [Mason Jr.] almost fell out of his seat after she finished giving her answer," Paul 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."
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