Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul has been elected president of the National Basketball Players Association on Wednesday after a two-day meeting in Las Vegas.
Paul, who has been a vice president on the union’s executive board for the last four years is the biggest star to head the NBPA since Patrick Ewing in 2001. The news has come as a surprise as current free agent Roger Mason was seemingly the only candidate for the job. NBA Finals MVP LeBron James had hinted about running for the job but in the end chose not to.
The Clippers guard begins an 18-month term as he replaces Derek Fisher as president.
“I’ve been thinking about (running) for a while on and off,” said Paul, who earlier this summer re-signed with the Clippers on a five-year, $107 million deal. “I’ve had a lot of dialogue about it with committee members. I wouldn’t have taken on the role if I was going to do it alone.”
Paul enters his presidency with the NBPA in a mess, the memories of the lockout in 2011 are still fresh in the minds of some as rule changes, firings and lawsuits are still ongoing.
The most important job now will be for Paul to guide the union through the process of finding a replacement for Billy Hunter, who was fired as NBPA executive director in February.
Neither Paul nor Jerry Stackhouse, who had been a union vice president before resigning his position earlier in the week, would commit to a timetable or discuss whether a search firm was in place to do that.
“We’re in no rush,” said Stackhouse, a free agent who plans to remain with the union in an advisory role. “We’ve identified a number of [candidates].”
The union wishes to name a replacement for Hunter before February 1, the date that Adam Silver officially replaces David Stern as NBA Commissioner.
“For us, it’s all about getting our house in order and making sure that everything moves right in that direction,” Paul said.