Trail Blazers

CJ McCollum aims to 'improve quality of basketball life' as NBPA President

Trail Blazers

CJ McCollum has been an advocate for his fellow NBA players since he came into the league in 2013.

Whether it’s being a voice to uplift others or the voice of reason to make sense of issues in society. 

His proactivity has led to him being elected the new NBPA president, succeeding two-term president Chris Paul.

McCollum had been a vice president of their executive committee since 2018 and has wanted a bigger role within the organization.

On the latest episode of his podcast, ‘Pull Up with CJ McCollum,’ he delved into what the selection means to him.

“I got involved with the players union and the players association some years back,” he said. “I care about continuing to figure out ways to improve not only our situation currently but our overall quality of basketball life.”

McCollum, 29, will be the leader of the NBPA when the collective bargaining agreement is set to expire. The deal could expire in 2022-’23 if either side decides to opt-out of 2023-’24.

One of the biggest goals for McCollum is to teach players how to maximize their NBA career. Regardless of how short or long it is.

Finding opportunities off the court is what the nine-year veteran has done. Whether it's in wine, doing media, or just being active in any venture that seems beneficial for him.

 

“I think we have such a finite amount of time to play,” he said. “The average lifespan of an NBA player is probably about four or five years. Just figuring out ways to maximize that time and really take advantage of the young players. Their talents, educating them to use their talent for the better, especially off the court. Maximizing those relationships with partnerships, sponsorships. Being able to speak to people that sit courtside.

“Really figuring out ways to empower the next generation of players is really why I wanted to be involved. I want to continue to figure out ways to leave this game better than it was when I found it. I think we’re heading in that direction. I think all the players that have come before us have done an outstanding job of helping us.”

Part of building a community of players, wise and confident enough to increase their off-court earnings, starts with themselves, the league, and their peers.

Like any profession, young players need mentors to guide them on how to become the best player and businessmen they can be. That’s what McCollum went through and his early years and hopes to continue with the younger players.

“Helping mentor guys like myself who came into the league in 2013 and I wanna be that same type of influence and mentor to the younger players that guys were to me,” McCollum said.