Chris Paul on All-Star complaints: ‘The union has always got the full body of players in mind’
Too often missing from the discussion: An All-Star game is happening only because the players’ union agreed to it.
National Basketball Players Association president Chris Paul – who, interestingly, is a close friend of LeBron – provided more context on the issue.
Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic:
"I talked to 'Bron maybe a week or two ago. I talked to Steph. A few guys."— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) February 6, 2021
NBPA president Chris Paul on #NBAAllStar game as guys like LeBron James have been outspoken against it.
"Emotions happen. Guys have feelings and you got to be able to express them and I respect that." pic.twitter.com/d0CGrs7I4c
With hundreds of members – from wealthy superstars to relatively low-paid rookies – the NBPA must often balance competing priorities. Ironically, Paul was reportedly unpopular as union president because he prioritizes stars. But if it’s not stars vs. rank-and-file players, there are other internal disagreements within the union. It can get contentious.
This situation has its own complexities.
Players’ salaries are directly tied to leaguewide revenue. All players benefit from the league making more money. But only 24 players play in the All-Star game. Should stars have more say in this decision? They’re the ones who’d have to sacrifice time in their All-Star break to play an exhibition game in Atlanta. Or should every union member have an equal say? Players collectively stand to gain from the revenue produced by an All-Star game.
There’s no perfect answer.
At one point, there were talks of allowing All-Stars to opt out of the game. We’ll see whether that’s included in the final plan. If it is, we’ll see how many players actually exercise that option. Though we’ve heard from some potential All-Stars, many more haven’t publicly stated their eagerness to play or lack thereof.
But enough top players are opposed that this is a major – and complicated – issue for Paul and the union.