More than a year of infighting within the NBA players’ union has resulted in the ouster of longtime leader Billy Hunter.
Hunter was fired as National Basketball Players Association executive director Saturday after a unanimous vote by union player representatives. The vote came weeks after a union-commissioned report alleged numerous improprieties by Hunter, who had led the union since 1996.
The union suspended Hunter indefinitely after the report’s release and barred him from attending Saturday’s union meeting.
Hunter adamantly defended himself in both an online rebuttal and an interview with The New York Times, arguing that he had not violated union policies and that he had not been given an adequate opportunity to plead his case to the players.
The latest drama within the NBA players’ union dates back to the 2011 owners’ lockout, when rumblings first surfaced of a rift between Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher. Last April, the executive committee voted unanimously to ask for Fisher’s resignation after he pushed for the internal review that ultimately cost Hunter his job.
Fisher withstood that power play and succeeded with one of his own. He will remain union president.
Internal discord is nothing new within the NBPA. All three executive directors in union history — the position was only created after the 1988 retirement of longtime leader Larry Fleisher — have been ousted under pressure.
(Saturday’s news from The New York Times)