The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) fresh collective bargaining agreement (CBA) could enable players to invest in and promote sports betting companies and firms with ties to cannabis production. This was reported by NBA insider Shams Sharina, who is also a partner at FanDuel, on Saturday. The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) acknowledged the league’s agreement on the new CBA framework, but provided no further details. The proposed CBA must still be ratified by both the players and owners before it is officially implemented.
This news arrives as players are increasingly facing criticism from disgruntled fans over their performances resulting in lost wagers. Last month, Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal was on the receiving end of some harsh words from a fan at a game in Orlando, prompting a police report to be filed.
Currently, 33 states and Washington, DC permit some form of sports betting, with 15 of the NBA’s 32 franchises based in these regions. The current CBA did not explicitly bar players from investing in gaming corporations, but did reference gambling nine times, plus Article 35 of the league’s constitution contained provisions prohibiting players from wagering on NBA and G League contests.
The new CBA may provide players with the same investment opportunities as their bosses, as Michael Rubin, the founder of Fanatics, previously sold his stakes in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils in anticipation of the company broadening its sports betting reach. Some current players have already taken steps to get prepared for this day, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks filing patents for a variety of trademarks linked to his “Greek Freak” nickname. Additionally, Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns, Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban are investors in Underdog Fantasy.