Los Angeles Clippers superstar point guard Chris Paul was elected president of the National Basketball Players Association Wednesday, replacing Derek Fisher and giving an organization drenched in turmoil some much-needed star power at the top. The vote by NBA player representatives came six months after the union fired Billy Hunter as executive director, a position that remains vacant and follows about 18 months of drama that occurred during the negotiations for the latest collective bargaining agreement. Hunter countered with a wrongful-termination lawsuit in May, accusing Fisher of conspiring with NBA officials during the 2011 lockout.
CP3 will be charged with getting the players’ union to move in the right direction after two years of turmoil that included an extended lockout in 2011 and the unanimous dismissal of former executive director Billy Hunter. NBA players apparently believe that the 28-year-old is the right man to transition the union into a new era of success and stability. Miami Heat star LeBron James was reportedly considering putting his name in the hat for the job, but he ultimately decided against it.
Paul joins a prestigious list of former players to hold the position which includes Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas, but he is the first big name to be elected since Patrick Ewing‘s term ended in 2001. Paul previously served as vice president on the executive committee the past four years.
“It’s not about me as president or the first vice president, it’s about the players as a whole,” Paul said Wednesday after being elected.
One of Paul’s greatest gifts on the court is an ability to get everyone involved and make his teammates better. Now he’ll try to do the same thing with the union. After the lockout ended and the lawsuits started to compile, there was a feeling among many players and observers that putting a big name in the big chair would help galvanize the group and get star players interested in participating again.
The players have spoken—Chris Paul is their choice.