In early March, Michele Roberts announced she would be stepping down as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association after six years on the job.
Days later, the National Basketball Association said it was suspending its season because of the coronavirus. Basketball was the first major sport to shut down, and the decision became one of the defining moments of normal life around the country rapidly grinding to a halt.
Six months later, Ms. Roberts is still on the job, and working as hard as ever. She helped the league, owners and players design the “bubble” in Orlando, Fla., where the N.B.A. resumed play at the end of July. As part of those negotiations, she worked with stars like LeBron James and Chris Paul to get the league to paint “Black Lives Matter” on every court, embrace the concept of printing messages supporting social justice on jerseys and set up a fund to support economic growth in Black communities.
That work continued last month when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court after the shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, by the police in Kenosha, Wis. The Bucks’ decision triggered a leaguewide stoppage, and prompted players in other sports to join the protests. For a short time, it was unclear if the N.B.A. season would continue.