Does loyalty in the NBA matter anymore? Be it from a franchise, or a player, it seems that each has placed its individual priorities in front of the other. Sure, Klay Thompson just posted a video on his Instagram that all but confirmed his return, and that there was never a doubt; but that certainly doesn’t mean The Golden State Warriors are going to remain loyal back. However, the question begs to be asked: should we stop judging players for how loyal they choose to be or not be?
Yes, it is time that we move on from that old school ideal, and instead alter our way of thinking to a more compatible version of the modern NBA. Imagine, if you will, each franchise represents a business model. You, as an athlete, are looking to pursue the business model that best represents you. You get a phone call, it is the New York Knicks (or let’s say the Denver Nuggets because Colorado), and they come at you with an amazing set of ideas and you find yourself wanting to work for them more than you want to win with them. Is that really a problem?
In a world that has been completely changed by social media, I think as humans we forget that we have to change with the times too. If we remain stuck in the past, one day we’re waking up in a bed that is hovering because we were moved to Mars and, well, gravity. As an athlete, winning is not just important, but necessary. However, it’s time to think outside of that. What about your family? Your health? What about the environment? I understand that these players make millions of dollars a year, and that “they should be able to find positive things anywhere” as a result, but they are still a human-being.
It is hypocritical as a society to ask these athletes to be held to higher standards as role models, but diminish their reputation when they choose to make a career choice that they feel is most positive for themselves. I understand that Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan only played for one team, and yes I respect them both tremendously for that. But I refuse to allow myself to try and justify my ill feelings towards a player on the basis they “left a team for another team.” To me that is equivalent of being jealous of your best friend because they are hanging out with their significant other more than you.
Get. Over. It.
I have been a die-hard fan of the Colorado Rockies for the entirety of my life, and it’s been rough, but I’ll bleed purple until the day I die. I have seen more players leave Colorado for another team than I have seen stay, and it has nothing to do with their integrity. Why would you want to play for a team that doesn’t represent the same passion for business as you do? I use the term “business” loosely, because I am not referring to an actual business. Rather, I am referring to the day in and day out operations and how one would feel working in that environment for the rest of their lives. It is the professional setting that you attend, and it is your career. We all just want to do something that we love, right?
Imagine doing what you love in a business that only allows you to exploit 80% of what you know you can. Or you work somewhere that doesn’t handle situations the way you feel is right. Would you feel, in your heart, it’s best if you choose a different business model to represent? If your name happens to be, say, Kevin Durant, you can pretty much choose anywhere. I also understand that money is always going to play a factor, and signing for a max contract is on the top of most people’s wish list. But we need to stop complaining and saying it is not okay for athletes to go somewhere to be happier, and simultaneously complain about being unhappy in our own personal environments. Maya Angelou once said “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
Well I hate to break it to you all, but these athletes are changing the things they don’t like for themselves. Now it’s our turn to change our attitude about it.
Featured Photo Credit – Elise Amendola/Associated Press
Photo Credit – Bleacher Report
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