According to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, the National Basketball Players Association will start to fund healthcare plans for players who have at least three years of experience in the league upon retirement.
Partnered with UnitedHealthcare, the NBA will be pioneers in what they’re doing to retired players, and the statement from the NBPA acknowledged that this “is the first of its kind among North American professional sports.”
Chris Paul, a premier player in the league, is the President of the NBPA and expressed how beneficial this will be to all players involved:
“The game has never before been more popular, and all the players in our league today recognize that we’re only in this position because of the hard work and dedication of the men who came before us. It’s important that we take care of our entire extended NBA family, and I’m proud of my fellow players for taking this unprecedented step to ensure the health and well-being of our predecessors.”
Although players won’t be able to receive coverage until January 1, 2017, the benefits that are involved are well worth the wait. The players with more service time in the league are given greater benefits, most likely because of how much wear and tear is put on their bodies as they gain experience. Once a player crosses ten years of experience, his family is given the same benefits that he is.
All of the players in the league enter at their athletic prime which isn’t necessarily the prime of their life. Once an NBA player retires, they still have a long time left on Earth — look at Kobe Bryant, who’s just 37 years old.
This move by the Players Associates is validated even more once you realize that any player would be incredibly lucky to play that long, as the average career in the NBA lasts just four years — leaving even more life to be lived.