Unlike their modern-day counterparts, older NBA players didn’t make multi-million dollar salaries, with the average 1976 payout at only $130,000. A union for retired players, which has 600 to 800 members, currently gets its players $356 a month for every year played in the league. They want another $216 per month, according to Bloomberg News.
Unfortunately, the retired players have absolutely no say in the negotiations. Because the pensions can only be changed by collective bargaining – and retired players aren’t included in the process – they have to rely on the good-will of the NBA and the player’s union to negotiate the raise into current contract extension talks.
Players with at least three years of service in the league qualify for the plan. Current workers also receive a 401(k) plan. The defined benefit plan offered was fully funded until 2001, when benefits were raised without a corresponding raise in funding. The retired players, along with current ones, want an additional $25 million to again bring the plan to fully-funded status.
NBA players aren’t the only professional athletes trying to get benefits after their playing days. NFL players are asking their union to get them lifetime health benefits in their next contract (See NFL Players to Look for Lifetime Health Care Coverage ).
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