“She Did Not Flinch.”
She relocated to New York in July 2014 after taking over leadership of the NBPA and essentially cleaning up the mess her predecessor had left in his wake when he lost player support during the 2011 NBA lockout. Following her hire, a media tour introduced Roberts to the country, underscoring her plain-dealing power: she was here to reinvigorate the union and protect the players. She was not here to mollify her detractors or delay action. One quote was especially potent, sweeping the Internet the morning the story of her appointment as NBPA head was reported in The New York Times. “My past is littered,” she said, “with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.” It was the sort of declarative mic drop that converts inspiration into steam.
I have since copied that quote on an index card that sits on my desk, propped against a jar of pens. No matter how cluttered my desk gets with to-do lists and piles of books, that quote, I make sure, remains visible. It is a constant reminder that these male-dominated institutions and systems will one day soon feel like nothing more than a cemetery to me.
In the Times piece, the writer introduces Roberts’s now-infamous words with four of his own: “She did not flinch.” Since speaking with Roberts over the phone, I have been convinced those four words should be the title for her memoirs. She Did Not Flinch.