May 18, 2011, 8:13 AM EDT
In a surprise to everyone around the NBA, Gary Hall, the lead attorney of the NBA’s player union and one of the negotiators for the organization, has died unexpectedly.
Hall, 67, apparently died of natural causes on Sunday, according to Bloomberg news.
“Gary worked tirelessly to build the NBPA and to champion the rights of its players,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said in an e-mailed statement. “Gary contributed greatly to the growth of basketball and the NBA on a global basis.”
Hall had been and would have been in the future a key part of the union’s negotiating team. He was a longtime friend of union executive director Billy Hunter.
At the draft lottery, the NBA’s lead negotiator Adam Silver said more intensive negotiations between the union and owners are planned in June, in whatever city hosts the Western Conference half of the finals.
The two sides met last Friday, and Hall had been part of that negotiations.
So far the negotiations are not making much headway, Silver told the New York Times.
“It would be hard to point to substantive progress in terms of the issues, but I think there is a sense that we are coming together in terms of a common understanding where the N.B.A. finds itself,” Silver said. “I think we have agreed to disagree on multiple ways to reach that end and more than happy to discuss alternatives.”
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