NBPA votes to support formation of union for G League players, per report


The National Basketball Players Association voted to support the formation of a players union for G League players on Monday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. The next step is formal approval at the G League level. The development of a union is the next step for the G League, which has expanded from eight teams to 28 since its inception in 2001. 

The news doesn’t come as a huge surprise as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the league’s plan to unionize in December. He reported that the union and players would work toward collectively bargaining items such as salaries, broader benefit packages and travel. Though gaining support at the league level is the next step, that shouldn’t be an issue. G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim has previously stated that he is in support of the development of a union for the players. 

“We support the players’ right to unionize,” Abdur-Rahim said in December. “We view this as a positive thing and are looking to continue to grow our league for the players to develop and accomplish their dreams.”  

The G League raised player salaries ahead of the 2018-19 season to a base of $35,000 for the five-month regular season. With the formation of a union, the goal will be continued advancements in pay and other areas. 

“Travel, housing, a little more money — it’ll be about small gains,” an anonymous G League general manager said in December.” The G League probably doesn’t generate enough revenue for wholesale changes unless we tap into the NBA’s BRI [basketball related income], but unionizing can be a start.”

The G League has become a popular proving ground for legitimate NBA talent. At the conclusion of the 2018-19 NBA season, a total of 272 players on end-of-season rosters had G League experience, which equated to over half (52 percent) of all NBA players. All 30 NBA teams finished the season with at least five NBA G League veterans on their roster, and two 2020 All-Stars — Pascal Siakam and Khris Middleton — spent time in the G League early on in their careers. These numbers will likely only increase as the G League continues to grow. 





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