The National Basketball Players Association (the NBPA) is a labor union that represents basketball players in the National Basketball Association (NBA). It was founded in 1954, making it the oldest trade union of the four major North American professional sports leagues. However, the NBPA did not get recognition by the NBA team owners until ten years later. Its offices are located in the historic Park and Tilford Building in New York City. It was briefly a trade association after dissolving as a union during the 2011 NBA lockout.
In 1983, players and owners reach a historic agreement, that introduced the "salary cap" era into professional sports. This was believed[by whom?] to be the first salary cap in any major professional sports league in the United States.
The NBA experienced its first work stoppage, when owners imposed a lockout, that lasted from July 1 through September 12, when players and owners reached an agreement. Because the lockout took place during the off-season, no games were lost.
The second NBA lockout, which ran into the 1998-99 season, lasted almost 200 days, and wiped out 464 regular-season games. After players and owners reached an agreement, the season did not start until February 5, 1999, with each of the 29 NBA teams playing a 50-game schedule.
The current collective bargaining agreement was reached in July 2005, and expired at 12:01 EST on July 1, 2011, following completion of the 2010-11 NBA season, resulting in a lockout, similar to the 2011 NFL lockout. ESPN has reported that the owners and players failed to reach an agreement and broke off negotiations, and that the owners began a lockout immediately after the collective bargaining agreement expired.
On November 14, the NBPA was converted from a union into a trade association, enabling the players as individual employees to be represented by lawyers in a class action antitrust lawsuit against the league, calling the lockout an illegal group boycott. The NBPA re-formed as a union on December 1, receiving support from over 300 players, exceeding the requirement for at least 260.
In February 2013, Billy Hunter was ousted unanimously as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) amid charges of nepotism and other concerns. 17 months later on July 29, 2014, Michele Roberts, a Washington, D.C. litigator, was elected as the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Association. She became the first female executive director of NBPA and the first woman to head a major professional sports union in North America. She would help avoid a opt-out labor dispute from occurring in 2017 with negotiations taking place early in 2016.
NBPA organizes Sportscaster U., an annual broadcasting training camp at Syracuse University in association with the Newhouse School of Public Communications. In past 10 years, hundreds of NBA players have attended this camp, and went on to successful careers in broadcasting.