Michele Roberts, USA
Executive director of the NBA Players Association
When Michele Roberts was first elected director of the NBA Players Association in 2014, she became not only the first woman to hold that particular role, but the first to head any players union in any of the four major American sports. That role saw her preside over the negotiations for the most recently agreed Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players’ association and the NBA itself, with Roberts helping avoid a repeat of the 2011 lockout after the two sides had failed to agree a new deal before the start of that season. The latest agreement, finalised in 2016, was the pinnacle of Roberts’ achievements in her role, but she’s far from done. She was re-elected director in 2018, and there are still fights to be won – most significantly, a renegotiation over the infamous “one and done” rule that prevents players from entering the NBA straight out of high school. But for a seasoned lawyer once dubbed the “finest trial lawyer in Washington DC”, fights like these are second nature.
– In 2014, Roberts was named to ESPNW’s inaugural Impact 25 list.
– Roberts brought 25 years of legal experience to her role as NBPA Director.
– Roberts was chosen by NBA players from a pool of 300 candidates.
Did you know…
Outside of her role with the NBPA, Roberts is also a professor at Harvard Law School.
“My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think that I was someone they could sleep on.” – Michele Roberts
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