Menu

Labor and Agents: As Roberts exits NBPA, she says players deserve equity in teams

Michele Roberts served as NBPA executive director since 2014.ESPN images

In her last week in office as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, Michele Roberts said she wishes she could have achieved more in the area of getting NBA players a piece of the increasing values of NBA teams.

 

“The biggest challenge which I sorely wish I could have met was securing player ownership in the 30 teams they have historically and continue to enrich,” Roberts said in an email, answering questions from Sports Business Journal.

Roberts was elected as the first female executive director of a major sports union in July 2014 and her last day was Jan. 7.

“Reading about the annual and consistent increases in the value of these teams is impressive,” Roberts wrote. “What’s depressing is that if/when there is a transfer of ownership, the players that have contributed so much to the teams’ value don’t receive a penny. Were I not retiring, I would make it a priority to secure an ownership stake in the teams on the players’ behalf — e.g. vis a vis the NBPA’s award of equity.”

Roberts said what she will miss the most is interaction with NBA players. “These men are truly remarkable,” she said. Asked what she was planning to do in retirement, she said, “On some days, nothing at all. On all days, only what I want to do.”

Roberts said she felt uncomfortable talking about accomplishments she is most proud of, as everything she did was in partnership with NBA players and a talented union staff. But she mentioned new support programs for players’ mental and physical wellness, retirement and transition assistance for players, as well as new programs for international players and tuition assistance as achievements.

“The NBPA now enjoys a functioning, philanthropic wing that is the envy of others in this space,” she said. “I’m proud to have been instrumental in the provision of health-care-for-life for our retired players. And, I am delighted that our Players had the confidence to manage their own group licensing rights. All of these ‘accomplishments’ have made this Union — in my humble opinion — best in class.”

The NBPA recently revealed, in its public annual financial report, that its assets grew by 40.9% to $391,003,399, for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2021. The union does not comment on its financials, but the increase appears to be from licensing and marketing income generated by its business arm, Think450.

Tamika Tremaglio, who was most recently the principal managing director of Deloitte’s Washington, D.C., office, starts today as the new NBPA executive director. Tremaglio, who holds a law degree, an MBA and is a trained forensic accountant, was named to the position in September.

Excel Sports is in talks with networks about broadcasting work for Michelle Wie.getty images

EXCEL SIGNS WIE: Excel Sports Management has signed LPGA Tour player Michelle Wie for representation in all areas, including marketing and endorsements, broadcasting and public speaking. Kevin Hopkins, Excel vice president of golf, is representing her. She was formerly represented by WME Sports.

Wie’s endorsements include Nike, Omega and MGM Resorts. Hopkins is in discussions with golf club companies about an equipment deal. Excel is also in talks with networks about a broadcasting job. Wie has worked as a commentator during the Masters on CBS, “The Match” on TNT, and major tournaments on Golf Channel.

Hopkins first met Wie when he started working, out of college, at IMG on golf tournaments on the events side and she was 15 or 16 years old. “I have known her her whole professional career and watched her go from teen phenom competing against the men when she was 16 years old to being a major champion on the LPGA Tour,” Hopkins said. “Now she is a married working mother and an entrepreneur. She’s done some broadcasting and is a philanthropist and influencer. We are so thrilled to work with Michelle in whatever this chapter of her career looks like. She is going to continue to play a limited schedule, but there is so much that she will be doing in the golf space, as well.”

Wie, now 32, is married to Jonnie West, Golden State Warriors director of basketball operations (and the son of NBA legend Jerry West) and has a 1 1/2-year-old daughter, Makenna. She is a Stanford graduate and an entrepreneur and investor in several companies, including Tonal, Oxigen Water and Sportsbox AI. She recently appeared in “Front Office,” a “Shark Tank”-like reality show where celebrity athletes vet business projects, produced by PlayersTV.

Excel Sports launched a practice focused on female golfers in 2019.

CAA SIGNS DORSEY: Chicago Sun-Times reporter Russell Dorsey, the beat writer for the Chicago Cubs, has signed with CAA Sports. CAA Sports broadcasting agent Kevin Belbey will lead the team representing Dorsey.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: July 7, 2022

Talking points from Sun Valley; Pac-12 retains Sports Media Advisors; Oak View Group to sell Top Golf national sponsorships and Rapino remains influential with new deal at Live Nation

SBJ Unpacks: LIV Golf tees off in Portland

Ahead of the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic in Illinois and LIV Golf Invitational Portland, SBJ’s Josh Carpenter, and David Rumsey spoke with Sports Illustrated's Bob Harig and Brendan Porath of The Fried Egg to discuss the current state of golf.

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

Shareable URL copied to clipboard!

https://sbjcd02.centralus.cloudapp.azure.com/Journal/Issues/2022/01/10/Insiders/Labor-and-Agents.aspx

Sorry, something went wrong with the copy but here is the link for you.

https://sbjcd02.centralus.cloudapp.azure.com/Journal/Issues/2022/01/10/Insiders/Labor-and-Agents.aspx

CLOSE
;