Last night’s media coverage in Las Vegas for the NBA’s All-Star weekend had it all: the Skills Competition, the Charles Barkley-Dick Bavetta race for charity ($50,000 going to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas), optimistic talk of a NBA team coming to Vegas, legends of the game, celebrity sightings, etc. But there was little coverage of a significant event in professional sports on at least two levels: a significant increase in pension benefits for retired players and a contribution by the Players Association in paying for it.
Here is what was announced by NBA Commissioner David Stern in company with Billy Hunter, Executive Director of the Players Association. The joint plan gives a 50% increase in pension benefits to players who retired before 1965. Players with three and four years in the league are now eligible, instead of the previous five-year requirement. The plan is retroactive to July 1, 2005, and allows for a lump sum catch-up of $20,000 for the players who had three or four years in the league.
Quite a contrast to Super Bowl week.