Michele Roberts, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association
Jennifer S. Altman/Washington Post/Getty Images

It seems like there’s something in the water with regard to high-profile people coming to the defense of athletes and the issue of whether they’re underpaid.

Earlier this week, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made a convincing case for why college athletes should be paid, and now Michele Roberts, the first female executive director of the National Basketball Players Association—the labor union that represents NBA players—weighed in on the topic in a scorching-hot interview with ESPN the Magazine.

Roberts didn’t mince words about how she thinks some NBA owners have a warped sense of reality when thinking about who keeps the lights on in basketball stadiums.

"Why don't we have the owners play half the games?" Roberts asked during the interview, as she went on to conclude, "There would be no money if not for the players." 

"Let's call it what it is. There. Would. Be. No. Money," she stated again. “These guys [the players] go? The game will change. So let's stop pretending."

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Roberts is also having a hard time wrapping her head around the league's salary cap.

"I don't know of any space other than the world of sports where there's this notion that we will artificially deflate what someone's able to make, just because," she said.

"It's incredibly un-American. My DNA is offended by it."

The age limit doesn’t sit well with Roberts either.

"It doesn't make sense to me that you're suddenly eligible and ready to make money when you're 20, but not when you're 19, not when you're 18," she said. "I suspect that the association will agree that this is not going to be one that they will agree to easily. There is no other profession that says that you're old enough to die, but not old enough to work."

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Read more at ESPN.