Michele Roberts, USA
Executive director of the NBA Players Association
When Michele Roberts was first elected director of the NBA Players Association in 2014, she became not only the first woman to hold that particular role, but the first to head any players union in any of the four major American sports. That role saw her preside over the negotiations for the most recently agreed Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players’ association and the NBA itself, with Roberts helping avoid a repeat of the 2011 lockout after the two sides had failed to agree a new deal before the start of that season. The latest agreement, finalised in 2016, was the pinnacle of Roberts’ achievements in her role, but she’s far from done. She was re-elected director in 2018, and there are still fights to be won – most significantly, a renegotiation over the infamous “one and done” rule that prevents players from entering the NBA straight out of high school. But for a seasoned lawyer once dubbed the “finest trial lawyer in Washington DC”, fights like these are second nature.
– In 2014, Roberts was named to ESPNW’s inaugural Impact 25 list.
– Roberts brought 25 years of legal experience to her role as NBPA Director.
– Roberts was chosen by NBA players from a pool of 300 candidates.
Did you know…
Outside of her role with the NBPA, Roberts is also a professor at Harvard Law School.
“My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think that I was someone they could sleep on.” – Michele Roberts
Amy Adams Strunk, USA
Owner of the Tennessee Titans
Strunk had no football experience when she took control of her late father Bud Adams’ team – Tennessee Titans – in 2015. But it didn’t take long for her to make her mark, hiring and firing head coaches, selecting staff and leading one of the NFL’s monolithic 32 franchises. Now one of the most influential people in the Tennessee sports world, Strunk has transformed the franchise thanks to her vision, commitment and leadership in creating a public image for supporters and players. She can be seen strolling the sidelines, shaking supporters’ hands and even features in the franchise’s interview processes for new staff, as well as providing honest opinions about the general direction of the team. A vast contrast to the closed environment that existed in previous years. Although the Titans have only made the playoffs once since 2008 – losing in 2017’s divisional round to the New England Patriots – she promises to do everything in her power to restore the club back to Super Bowl contention. A process that will take time but is firmly achievable under her guidance.
– Adams has varied the pricing structure for match tickets ahead of the 2019 NFL season in a bid to encourage more Titans fans to attend home games.
– She donated $1 million to the Houston flood relief effort in 2017.
– She is on the NFL’s Hall of Fame committee and was also named on the Board of Trustees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
Did you know…
Away from her busy role at the Nissan Stadium, Strunk is a hugely successful businesswoman, having founded Kenada Farms and the Little River Oil and Gas Company. Her multi-million dollar ventures have provided her with vast knowledge about customer service and managing a diverse range of employees.
“I’m warm, I like to show people how I feel, that’s who I am. But I also have no problem doing whatever it takes to win. That is definitely my priority.” – Amy Adams Shrunk (Source: ESPN)
Mia Hamm, USA
Co-owner of Los Angeles FC
In the pantheon of football greats, Mia Hamm stands shoulder to shoulder with anyone – male or female. Her on-field exploits speak for themselves, but her modern-day accomplishments almost supersede them. A co-owner of Los Angeles FC, Hamm is also a global ambassador for Spanish giants Barcelona, and has been on the board of Serie A outfit Roma – reinforcing her position as a global footballing powerhouse. Unsurprisingly, the mum-of-two is a huge exponent for the positives around girls playing sport – both in school and out. She speaks regularly on the importance of increasing participation numbers for both overall health and wellbeing, and also the development of elite talent.
– Hamm is a two-time Olympic gold medal winner, and two-time World Cup winner with the USA.
– Hamm has a list of accolades include a top-3 place in the best female footballers of the 20th century, and was also named in the FIFA100 – a list of the 125 greatest living player, both male and female.
– Such was Hamm’s resonance in US pop-culture, she was once mentioned in the hit TV show Friends.
Did you know…
Mia founded the Mia Hamm Foundation following the death of her adopted brother to a rare blood disease. The foundation raises funds and awareness, helping families in need of bone marrow transplants.
“There are always new, grander challenges to confront, and a true winner will embrace each one.” – Mia Hamm