National Basketball Players Association to set up heath insurance for retirees

Published Jul. 7, 2015 3:24 p.m. ET

By Vincent Frank

Other leagues around the sports world might want to take note. Flush with cash after a return to prominence in recent seasons and a new television contract, the National Basketball Players Association is looking at the possibility of starting a fund to help retirees cover their medical expenses.

We have literally seen a couple billion dollars thrown around in NBA free agency over the past week, but older players never saw the fame and fortune active stars see today. Much like other sports, NBA players from previous eras were forced to take second and third jobs in order to earn a decent living. Those ex-players are now well into the twilight of their lives, and need the help of the now cash-rich NBA to help them foot what have become expensive medical bills.

That’s where the union comes into play.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the union is proposing to use new television revenue to help fund health insurance for former players.

From the report:

“The plan is estimated to cost between $10 million-$15 million a year and a vote on passage of the union’s initiative is set for the NBPA’s July 20 membership meeting in Las Vegas. The union’s 30 team player representatives are expected to pass the plan with ease and start the process of covering the retired players quickly, league sources said.”

While the plan looks to be on its way to passage, the largest hurdle here is collecting the necessary information to start paying out the insurance to former players. As Wojnarowski noted, the union has been researching the names and addresses of 1,500 living ex-players in an attempt to offer them an option between three different health plans.


With team revenues and player contracts rising substantially in large part based on a new $2.7 billion annual television contract, this makes perfect sense.

While other leagues have health insurance set for former players, issues have come up as it relates to attainability, especially in the National Football League.

It sure looks like the NBA’s plan will be one of inclusion.


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