The NBA Players Association and certain top players extract significant value
from the overall system. Under the most recent collective bargaining agree-
ment (2005), the players are entitled to receive 51 per cent of the teams’
“basketball related income”.
Top players receive annual salaries of $20 mil-
lion or more, and many earn substantially more in personal endorsements.
In 2010, for example, Kobe Bryant garnered $48 million, the highest endorse-
ment income in the league, while LeBron James collected $43 million, Yao
Ming, $38 million, and  Tony Parker $16 million.
The league is governed by a commissioner elected by the franchise owners.
For the past 27 years, this position has been occupied by David Stern. The NBA
maintains its own rules of play but cooperates with Fédération Internatio-
nale de Basketball (FIBA) and national basketball federations in harmonising
rules and permitting NBA players to compete in international competitions
and the Olympics. Several departments at league headquarters –Basketball
Operations, Referee Operations, and Security–are primarily responsible for
policing the integrity of the sport, including the personal conduct of players,
team officials, game officials, and fans.
Teams also have their own policies
and personnel for monitoring players and also work with private security con-
tractors in out-of-town markets to provide local advice and assistance such as
bodyguards and limousine drivers.
The most serious integrity breach of recent years occurred in 2007, when
referee Tim Donaghy, a 13-year league veteran, was found guilty (and sub-
sequently imprisoned) for accepting large cash payments from an illegal
gambling ring to influence the point spreads in games. In response, the NBA
authorised a thorough, independent investigation of its officials and policies
for overseeing them. Several reforms are under way or under consideration:
more complete background checks and disclosure requirements for offi-
cials, an anonymous hotline for information about questionable practices,
strengthened training programmes for NBA personnel at all levels, and closer
league oversight of referee conduct on and off the court.
Meanwhile, the
league has warmed to the legal gambling industry, with the friendliest rela-
tions among major American professional sports. The NBA stages exhibition
games at casinos and operates a summer league in Las Vegas.
The league
also permits Tony Parker to serve as a spokesperson for BetClic Poker, a gam-
GUARDING THE GAME Preserving the Integrity of Sport
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