LOYALTY – The lie of sports leagues

In sports there are lies that perpetuate culture from the term “student-athletes” to the faulty belief that players should be loyal to the organizations who draft them.

Those in power make the rules and shape the narrative but more recently the players have realized they actually have more power than realized.

Specifically with the NBA in 2010 there was the Summer of LeBron.

With the best player in the league becoming a free agent many teams from New York to Chicago all sought after the product from Akron.

With LeBron James having an ESPN special broadcasting where he’d “take his talents” the outpouring of hate when he spurned his home state of Ohio for South Beach was immediately evident.

The Heatles were now the villains with fans and legends alike demonizing his decision including a racial coded letter from Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

The general belief was that the players should not only be grateful to make millions playing ball but should have inherent loyalty to their franchise regardless of how terrible the front office is.

The problem with this is it’s a stupid burden to put on a player.

When Allen Iverson had to deal with trade rumors the year after leading the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA Finals no one batted an eye but when Kevin Durant leaves Oklahoma City while still in his prime people lose their minds.

There is terrible hypocrisy that is at play here.

Owners can do whatever they want and players should aim to be like Kobe or Tim Duncan, ignoring that both Bryant and Timmy D almost left their respective teams for greener pastures.

Enes Kanter played on the same OKC team that Durant left and he was outspoken while defending his teammate Russell Westbrook but this didn’t matter when the front office traded him for Carmelo Anthony.

Similarly Boston and Cleveland’s blockbuster trade raised some eyebrows and rocked the basketball world.

After going to the Finals for the third straight time Kyrie Irving demanded a trade from the Cavs.

This was met with shock because many didn’t expect him prefer controlling his own destiny and possibly turn down an opportunity to return to another Finals.

Cleveland found the right pieces to trade in their conference rivals from the Boston Celtics.

Danny Ainge traded star point guard and MVP candidate Isaiah Thomas in the deal.

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If there was any example that the call for loyalty goes both ways it would’ve been in this opportunity.

Isaiah did everything right. The fans loved him, he played hurt both emotionally and physically.

He played through a hip injury only after leading his team to not only a series win against the Chicago Bulls but also the Washington Wizards this was after he lost his sister in a car accident.

Some fans are softening on their vitriol for Kevin Durant joining the 73-9 Warriors with Isaiah Thomas getting traded for Kyrie after IT not only played through injuries but continued after losing his sister.

It showed that the stereotype of playing for only one team shouldn’t surpass what’s best for their family and his goals as a player.

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