Chris Paul ready for challenge as NBPA president

The NBA Players Association elected a new president on Wednesday, replacing Derek Fisher with Chris Paul. This went against the grain considering Roger Mason Jr. was widely reported to be Fisher’s successor, but the Los Angeles Clippers’ All-Star should be a solid leader for a union in desperate need of direction.

Paul will be the union’s first real star as president since Patrick Ewing stepped down in 1999. Mason was elected as first vice president, replacing Jerry Stackhouse, while Anthony Tolliver and Steve Blake were elected as vice presidents to replace Paul and Mason.

It’s going to be interesting for a player as high-profile as Paul to be in charge considering LeBron James turned the job down due to the time commitments necessary, but Paul told the Associated Press that he’s ready for the task at hand.

“It was something I saw as a challenge, something I knew I’d be able to handle,” Paul said. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity, a lot of responsibility comes with this position but I’m very fortunate to have an outstanding committee of guys. The past couple of days have been outstanding, the dialogue we’ve had as an executive committee also with the players that have come in town, it was amazing.”

“This is not a position that’s about me or one person,” Paul said. “It’s about the collective group and the players and I think from my experience … it’s about growing the game and expanding our brand and continue to get our players involved as we can and make sure our voice is heard. The guys here just understand it’s our union, there’s no one person that is bigger than the group.”
Paul’s quotes seem to show that he’s doing it for the right reasons and that he’s ready to help the NBPA make a change, something Tolliver said desperately needed to happen.

“We want to make sure that nothing remotely close that has gone on in the union in the past 12 months or so will ever happen again,” Tolliver said. “It’s a huge job. It’s a huge responsibility. I’m glad to be a part of that.”
It’s going to be interesting to see what sort of impact having Paul at the top has on the rest of the players’ union, but Tolliver believes it’ll lead to more high-profile players — such as LeBron — joining in on union activities.

“Since I’ve been in the NBA the superstars have come to a few meetings here and there, every once in a while, but not very often,” Tolliver said. “The fact that (James) even considered doing that lets me know that he’s going to be more involved in the future. … Especially him being the face of our game, we want to have him involved as much as possible. Not only him, we want all the guys that carry our brand to be a part of this.”
If the high-profile players feel like getting more involved simply because Paul is at the top of the union, it seems the players made the right move in electing him president of the NBPA.

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