NBA News

Loyalty, The Last of A Dying Breed?

Looking at the League 10-15 years ago, it would almost mean the end of your career to go to a team that beat you in the playoffs or leaving a city you promised to bring a championship to just to go “ring chasing.”

Special to The Suave Report: A.J. Bussey.

Loyalty, a word many see and instantly say it is missing from the NBA. Kevin Durant and LeBron James are seen as the most disloyal of players.

Looking at the League 10-15 years ago, it would almost mean the end of your career to go to a team that beat you in the playoffs or leaving a city you promised to bring a championship to just to go “ring chasing.”

However now, organizations are looking to stack their teams so they can compete with that of the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. In a recent interview with Sirus XM Radio, Dirk Nowitzki (who is beginning his 20th season in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks), said, “The new NBA is a little different. It’s about making money and winning. And not as much about being loyal anymore.” Dirk represents the last in a generation of superstars who have played their whole career in one location (Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant included). Many say the dissolving of loyalty in the NBA began when LeBron left for Miami and then with the devastating departure of Kevin Durant, loyalty is now seen as nonexistent.tumblr_ovrr8wqobC1r3aurto1_1280

Dirk represents the last in a generation of superstars who have played their whole career in one location (Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant included). Many say the dissolving of loyalty in the NBA began when LeBron left for Miami and then with the devastating departure of Kevin Durant, loyalty is now seen as nonexistent.

As an avid sports fan, I wonder how basketball would’ve been if players like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Reggie Miller, Kobe Bryant and so many others who displayed loyalty during both good and bad years would’ve left their respective clubs. Reggie Miller who is considered one of the best players to never win a ring has chimed in on the topic of loyalty or lack thereof in the league. He mentioned all the greats he lost to, Jordan, Bird, Ewing, Shaq and Isaiah Thomas. But what was most interesting is that he said that going against the best and losing was more rewarding than ring chasing. Which speaks to the mentality of the league.

Many current and future HOFers have weighed in on this subject and claimed that they would never have left their respective clubs in order to gain a championship. Back then, you played for the love of the game and competition. However, can we really blame these athletes? The pressure from media to be great ultimately rests in winning a championship. The statement is always, “he was great but he didn’t win when it counted most.”

tumblr_ow7z5zk3sW1sbxj8ao1_540Reggie posed a great question though, “at the end of the day what’s more important, rings or legacy?” A legacy without a ring is still a legacy. I believe that is something we often forget. When we look at players like Reggie Miller, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and more, how would it have been if they left their original teams? Most notably, Nick Collison has spent his entire career with the Thunder – without winning a ring – has not left and will likely retire there after this season. Loyalty is a respectable trait in these players. Whether or not they won or lost with their teams, they did not leave. They fought and endured. Dirk Nowitzki and Nick Collison are the last of a dying breed. Loyalty in the league will essentially become extinct when they retire. Which will be a sad reality we’ll all have to face sooner than later.

Dirk Nowitzki and Nick Collison are the last of a dying breed. Loyalty in the league will essentially become extinct when they retire. Which will be a sad reality we’ll all have to face sooner than later.

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