Billy Hunter was fired as executive director of the NBA players union after 17 years in the job on Saturday after an executive committee of players voted unanimously to oust him.
The National Basketball Players Association assembled a new executive committee after player representatives axed Hunter following a review of his tenure at the top of the organisation was released in January.
There was no evidence of illegal activities by Hunter but he was criticised in the review, conducted by a legal firm, for hiring family members and friends as well as questionable travel-related expenses and other charges.
“Today was a day of change for our association and our union,” executive committee president Derek Fisher said.
“We held a meeting with the board of player representatives, with many different groups of players represented. The player reps and the general body have made their voice and their votes heard.
“A motion was raised, seconded and passed unanimously and we will terminate the employment of Billy Hunter.”
Hunter, who led the union since 1996, was placed on indefinite leave on February 1.
During his time in charge of the union, Hunter guided players through three collective bargaining agreement negotiations that helped boost the average NBA player’s salary above US$5 million.
Fisher said that he understands the firing might be the start of a messy fight involving the union’s current and former leadership.,
“We want to make it clear that we are here to serve only the best interests of the players,” Fisher said.
“No threats, no lies, no distractions will stop us from serving our membership. We do not doubt this process will continue in an ugly way.
“This is our union, and we have taken it back.”