NBA and NBPA Announce Major Increases in Pension Benefits
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced today that they are jointly funding a significant increase in the pension benefits for the NBA’s pioneer players – players who retired prior to 1965 – and at the same time are increasing the number of players eligible for these benefits. Under these improvements, pre-65 players will receive a 50% increase in their pension benefits. The former players will now receive $3,600 per year of service compared to the $2,400 per year of service they received under the previous pension program.
For example, pre-65 players with 10 years of service will receive $36,000 per year; previously, those players received annual payments of $24,000. Also, the league and union agreed to provide this same higher benefit to players with three and four years of NBA service; previously only players with five or more years of service were eligible to receive pension benefits.
Finally, the NBA and Players Association agreed to make the pension plan improvements retroactive to July 1, 2005; therefore, in the coming months, all eligible pre-65 players will be receiving a lump sum payment for all of the benefits that would have been paid from July 2005 to the present.
“I am heartened by the support that the NBA owners and players are showing for the pioneers of our league,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “For quite some time, the Players Association has been working with us to secure a more complete pension program for our former players who helped build the game. We started with a very ambitious goal and the union wanted to go even further. I am extremely proud of the results.”
“This is an important gesture and a tangible benefit for the pioneers of our league,” said Executive Director of the Players Association Billy Hunter. “I applaud the NBA and the owners for their willingness to share in this commitment along with the union and our 450 members.”