Today was not Billy Hunter’s best day as director of the National Basketball Players Association, although he has had worse.
Quite a few people want him ousted from his post, and they are speaking out.
Top agent, Arn Tellem wrote a letter to all his clients, an influential group of players that includes Derek Rose, Brook Lopez, Marc Gasol, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Anthony Davis and many more.
The letter written is very thorough and political. It’s information would take up more than this entire blog post, so you can read it in entirety on the New York Times. However, I did want to share a few of my favorite highlights from this letter that will give readers just a small example of the issues the NBPA and Billy Hunter have. Below are the more alarming findings from the investigation conducted by the Law Firm of Paul Weiss, whom was hired by the NBPA Executive Committee:
- Mr. Hunter abused his position by hiring family members and by conducting business with friends and family that enriched his cronies at the expense of the players. In one instance, he tried to invest several million dollars of union funds into a failing New Jersey bank with business ties to his son without ever disclosing the family connection to the Executive Committee or player representatives.
- Mr. Hunter spent more than $300,000 in union funds exploring a series of ill-considered investments, including an energy drink company, real estate projects and a mixed martial arts fighting league in Japan.
- Mr. Hunter improperly lavished more than $100,000 in union funds on gifts for outgoing union presidents and executive committee members.
- Mr. Hunter billed players $1.3 million for unused vacation time without adequate documentation or oversight.
- In 2010 Mr. Hunter rammed through the NBPA executive committee a five-year contract extension for himself reportedly worth as much as $18 million. In violation of the union’s constitution and bylaws, the extension was never approved by the player reps, a fact that Mr. Hunter was aware of and chose to ignore.
- Mr. Hunter told investigators that his son’s firm, Prim Capital, had no written contract with the NBPA. Yet a potentially fraudulent contract guaranteeing an annual $600,000 payment to Prim Capital turned up last week.
This is only the beginning for Mr. Billy Hunter and the NBPA. Another piece of kindle for this fire came out today courtesy of Liz Mullen from SportsBusiness Daily.
“Sources said that the NBPA has sent every NBA player an e-mail informing them that the union will hold elections for seven vacant positions on the nine-member union Exec Committee Feb. 16 during All-Star Weekend in Houston. Sources said that the e-mail was sent on Friday. The law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, which was hired by the NBPA to investigate the union’s leadership … found that Exec Dir Billy Hunter placed his own interests above the interests of the union, also found that only two members of the Exec Committee — President Derek Fisher and VP Matt Bonner — may be current members under the union’s bylaws. The report states, “The terms of the other seven have either expired, or they appear no longer eligible for service because they have not been ‘employed as players on any of the individual teams’ this season (or both).” The e-mail encourages all player reps and their teammates to attend. A source said that the e-mail states any NBPA member can run for the open seats on the Exec Committee. Exec Committee members are elected by team player reps under NBPA bylaws. The seats up for election include the secretary-treasurer position, the first VP position and five VP positions.
This is going to be a long 2013 and a tough All-Star Weekend for Hunter.
Now let’s jump to news related to the game.
- Not all NBA legends get the opportunity to work in the front office for an NBA team. This is the case for Robert Parish. Parish has been looking for a way into the NBA fraternity since his retirement. Speaking with the Boston Globe about his struggles since his retirement both personally and financially. “In my case, I don’t have any friends,’’ Parish said. “I saw Kevin at an event; he said he was going to call me. He never called. I called Larry twice when he was at the Indiana Pacers; he never returned my call. And not just Larry. Across the board, most NBA teams do not call back. You need a court order just to get a phone call back from these organizations. I’m not a part of their fraternity.”