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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

NBA Players Association Head Billy Hunter Once Used $22,000 Of Union Funds To Buy Derek Fisher A Watch

Illustration for article titled NBA Players Association Head Billy Hunter Once Used $22,000 Of Union Funds To Buy Derek Fisher A Watch

The NBAPA's board recently commissioned a independent review of the record of noted nepotism-abuser Billy Hunter, who has been union head for 16 years. Though the review found that his actions fell short of illegality, it did reveal a few odd pieces of information about the judgment of Hunter, the man that guided the players through the league's most recent lockout, and still advises them on various contractual issues. There are interesting revelations to related to suppression—Hunter once retaliated when Pat Garrity, then Secretary Treasurer, raised questions about his choice to hire two family members—but the strangest parts uncover the way he's spent union money over the years:

[The inquiry] found that Hunter's current contract was not properly approved by union leadership, and that he failed to inform the committee of this fact; that he was paid $1.3 million for unused vacation time without independent review; and that he failed to disclose conflicts of interest when hiring family and friends.

The investigation also found that Hunter made decisions that "call into question his stewardship of union resources" when he considered investing millions of dollars in a failing bank without disclosing that his son, Todd, was a director. Hunter also pursued "speculative" business ventures; bought luxury gifts with union funds, including a $22,000 watch that he gave to Derek Fisher, the union's president; and spent about $28,000 on personal legal fees for Charles Smith, the former executive of the National Basketball Retired Players Association.

Forget the question of why anyone needs a $22,000 watch: Why does Derek Fisher need a $22,000 watch for free?

In a twist of irony, it is Fisher that requested the review in the first place. Both Hunter and Fisher, Executive Director and President of NBAPA respectively, will remain in their roles for the time being. No word on the watch.


Inquiry Questions Actions of N.B.A. Union Chief, But Finds No Criminality [NYT]

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