David Stern on strong unions

In an interview taped Tuesday with coach Mike Krzyzewski, to be aired Wednesday evening on Sirius XM's “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K”, NBA Commissioner David Stern addresses the turmoil at the National Basketball Players Association. The union's longtime executive director, Billy Hunter, has been facing various investigations into misconduct and was fired last month. He has been replaced, on an interim basis, by longtime NBPA lawyer Ron Klempner.

Stern had an interesting take, focused on how the union might better serve players, telling Krzyzewski:

It’s fair to say that while this matter has been percolating in the union they haven’t been as proactive as they could be on a variety of what we used to call "b-list" issues, for player development, even discussions further with the NCAA about when players should be eligible. A wide variety of things.

We’re looking for a partner that can really make life better for our players, would-be players, sort of the social welfare task of a union, together with growing the game so that everyone prospers.

And then at some future date we’ll argue about how to split up the sum of all of the growth we’ve worked on together. So we see it as a significant opportunity once it gets itself settled down.

TrueHoop's Working Bodies series -- digging into issues of, essentially, player job safety -- is focused on many of those "social welfare" issues.

Issues like player exhaustion due to the 82-game schedule, concussion research, limiting players' exposure to dangerous doping products or high-technology approaches to injury reduction are hot topics in basketball circles, but the union has not been central to those conversations. But they certainly could be, and probably should be, as the beneficiaries of such thinking would certainly be players.