SBD/August 5, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

National Basketball Retired Players Association Brings On Jalen Rose As Ambassador

Rose has a high-profile position as an ESPN basketball analyst
The National Basketball Retired Players Association today announced ESPN's Jalen Rose as its new "ambassador," a role which will "enable Rose to shape programs for former players while recruiting and enlisting the help of the younger guys," according to Steve Aschburner of The NBRPA is choosing Rose to "be its guy in bridging a gap between current NBA players and the league’s older alumni who have shown the most interest in that group." Rose said, "Hopefully we can create some awareness, some planning, a decision-making mechanism from top to bottom -- whether it’s social, emotional or financial -- so you’re prepared for that next step.” Rose, 41, is "being counted on to raise the NBRPA’s profile through his visibility as an NBA analyst and studio host." Aschburner noted the NBRPA, founded in '92, has "suffered from years of in-fighting, competing agendas and mismanagement." And only after a search firm was enlisted, with former Saints exec Arnie Fielkow hired as President & CEO, did the NBRPA "begin to turn things around." Membership now is "at a high of nearly 700 former players, working both inside (programs for ex-players) and outside (serving their communities)." Last month, Chair Otis Birdsong and Fielkow were in DC with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA President Chris Paul and President Obama to "announce a five-year commitment to the My Brothers Keeper mentoring program" (, 8/4). In Chicago, Danny Ecker writes Rose "brings a far different swagger to the organization and greater name recognition among younger former players." NBRPA VP/Communications & Marketing Paul Corliss said, "The money is different for the younger players than it was for older guys. We want to use [Rose] as a sounding board for what's relevant to a player coming out today. He'll really help us shape programming that way" (, 8/5).

ROBERTS' RULES: In Boston, Gary Washburn noted new NBPA Exec Dir Michele Roberts officially begins Sept. 15. Roberts said that she will "meet with players over the next several weeks to eradicate any doubts about her passion for the job." Roberts: "I will probably end up being a pain in the (butt) because I am going to keep hanging around and make sure I can eyeball every single one of the men and women I work for. I want to meet them and I want them to meet me.” Washburn noted being an African-American woman is "not lost on Roberts." But she said that she is "accustomed to working in male-centric arenas." Roberts: “Being a trial lawyer, being a litigator, has been historically dominated by men -- and quite frankly by white men -- so I’ve had to compete in an environment where I was probably the only woman in the room" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/3). Pistons C Andre Drummond was in Las Vegas for Roberts' election and said, "Being involved with some of the union stuff in the NBA and stuff like that is really beneficial. Not only for myself, but for my career to learn who’s really handling certain situations and who’s really helping us with our contracts and collective bargaining stuff. Just for me to be there, I learned quite a bit more about the league" (, 8/3).
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