NBPA VP Offers Strong Responses To Black Lives Matter, COVID-19

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 22: Caris LeVert #22 of the Brooklyn Nets goes after a loose ball against Bismack Biyombo #8 of the Charlotte Hornets during their game at Spectrum Center on February 22, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Tomorrow the NBA resumes play at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida after the coronavirus pandemic halted NBA basketball on March 11.

22 NBA Teams will compete to fill the league’s 16-NBA playoff spots in both the NBA’s Eastern and Western Conferences with the NBA Finals expected to finish no later than October 13.

While the NBA was halted, the NBA Players Association was hard at work.

A month ago, you heard about conference calls discussing the NBA bubble and conditions inside the bubble.

Million Dollar Question: Do you actually know what the Players Association entails?

The Players Association is a labor union that represents NBA players and was founded in 1954.

In 1983, players and owners reach a historic agreement, that introduced the “salary cap” era into professional sports. This was believed to be the first salary cap in any major professional sports league in the United States.

Michele Roberts is currently the Players Association Executive Director, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul is the President. The Players Association also has multiple Vice Presidents: Andre Iguodala of the Miami Heat, Bismack Biyombo of the Charlotte Hornets, Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics, Malcolm Brogdon of the Indiana Pacers, the Portland Trail Blazers’ CJ McCollum and the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving.

Biyombo dropped by the Scoop B Radio Podcast and explained the NBPA, his role and tons more.

Notes below:

Bismack Biyombo on talks with the Players Union in regards to the NBA restart:

“I think this is by far the busiest I’ve been because you know like, obviously going through this you get a lot of questions from players that you can bring to the union and then you get to be on a lot of these phone calls to find a solution while we all have different ideas and opinions and we try to narrow that into the same kind of understanding, same mindset so that everybody can be on the same page. I think one of the most interesting things for me was being able to be more of a listener because, you have a lot of players that are not part of the union that always would like to express themselves. So, for the international players by being able to listen to them, and listen to what they have to say about the situation how we can go by. Because we got the information not only for those that work within the union; but also players all around the league. Players that came before us; because we were dealing with a lot of things, not just getting the league back up and running. Now we have the social injustice issues that we are facing. The Black Lives Matter movement and players coming up with different ideas on how we can preserve it. So the whole process is to me, very interesting and at the same time you get to educate yourself on a lot of things and being able to help other players which was very important.

Bismack Biyombo explains the Players Union:

“There are four VP’s and then obviously there’s a first vice-president which is Andre [Iguodala] and then there’s Kyrie and Malcolm Brogdon, there’s Garrett Temple, CJ McCollum, me and Tammy Tolliver which is the Secretary of Treasury and then we have CP3; the President of our union.”

Bismack Biyombo on how everybody’s role is different from others in the Player’s Union:

“To be honest, Kyrie and I are the vice presidents and we don’t have the same roles, but to honest with you we’re just going through this process. Obviously, CP3 has a lot more phone conversations than we do; probably with a lot more players and owners and whatnot. But then when all these issues are brought to the table like, all of us as vice-presidents have got to be part of the solution – bringing up ideas, coming up with ways on how the league is going to look in the nest year or two knowing that we’re going through this now. So, just being able to support players and being the voice of the players, all the vice-presidents we kind of like, have the exact job, but again…it’s 450 players and to have only two vice presidents. At first I didn’t understand until we had to go through the pandemic and then you see the amount of players hitting you up like, you know that it’s going to be a phone call. They have questions and you have all these questions from players that you’ve built relationships with; that you know. The ones that you don’t know send you a different amount if questions when you’re sitting there like, ‘This is me now…’ I don’t know what the next guy is going to do. But at the same time we kind of do have the same role. We’re just trying to the best we can to make sure we’re representing the players the right way and we get the right deal done between our union and the NBA, which is very important. I think our job is to make sure we represent our two leagues to the best of our ability. Like, we had a lot of phone calls and you know, CP3 said probably at the beginning of this year, “This was the best executive committee I’ve ever been part of because, we have a mix of max-level guys, mid-level guys and minimum guys. But everybody’s trying to accomplish the same thing.” And you get an opinion from everybody across the room. I think that’s what really comes in play when you’re able to get your opinion from the guys up top and the guys on the bottom, and the guys in the middle. To me, it has been fun. We have a mix of younger guys, veterans and our union has a lot to be proud of.”

Bismack Biyombo on passing along knowledge to the younger guys in the union:

“Well I think our goal going forward is to pass along the message. Everybody try to share the information, which is the beauty of the NBA. Because, this is not just about the union. I think when I came in the league, I had veterans on my team that was just sharing all the information that they know. And the NBA Union has become like a brotherhood to where you see a young guy that wants to learn, you pass along as much information as you can; however much you know so you can also educate them on the now and the future. And a lot of them have been very good listeners. A lot of them try to educate themselves; which I think is very good for our league because, now we always want to look at a bigger picture and a brighter side of things. And looking back, when I came in the league like, for young guys the union was just you know – “Yeah they work for us, but that’s it. If there’s some issues, the union will take care of it.”…but versus now, you have more young guys that are like, ‘Yes…this is the issue that how we should fix the league. How are going to come up with a solution? Here’s my suggestion and maybe it might be able to help on that.’ But at the same time they still involve and they want us to build a better – just like with the movement that we’re seeing now with the Black Lives Matter. This generation wants to more and they’re ready to more, which is very exciting. But that’s why it’s really has been fun.”

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