If you had the choice to work anywhere in the country, would you take the opportunity? Perhaps you would take advantage for yourself, to relocate closer to friends and/or family, if not you, your wife might enjoy a new experience elsewhere, or possibly even your children would be better suited for a school system in a different city, as they grow up. Whatever the scenario, you and your family deserve to be happy in a place where you all share a better quality of life. Given many do not have this option as they are forced to work when and where there are job opportunities and they receive the best compensation for their work. But for those that are fortunate enough to climb the social ladder that allows them to dictate where they reside, there should not be any penalty or social backlash for making the decision that best suits their family.
Normally there is not.
HOWEVER, when it comes to professional athletes such as our favorite NBA players, for numerous reasons, on the surface, they are deemed as “unfaithful”, “a snake”, or not staying true to their family of fans, should they decide to move their actual family and people they care about to another area, for reasons the general public will never know anything about.
Many attribute the NBA’s current free agency situation to LeBron James’s decision to play in Miami back in July 9, 2010. For certain, the way James made a public scene that shocked the world did not go over well with his critics or even the media. He definitely has a reputation for seeking the spotlight in hopes of gaining attention, but now LeBron’s brand is rapidly growing, so it was a savvy business move. Sure, there were many dissatisfied loyal Cleveland Cavaliers fans who could not believe the news, who would then express their hatred, even to the point of being recorded on camera, burning jerseys of LeBron James.
Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, came out and publicly ridiculed James calling him a traitor. But as for the many fans of LeBron that denounced their loyalty to him, he received an even greater welcome in South Beach when LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh made their grand entrance to the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Center that off-season.
In the next few years, with social media platforms on the rise, every day fans, even kids, are now aware of trades, trade rumors, or any type of free agency reports. With this information anyone around the world can speculate what will happen next. But the truth is no one could have foreseen something like the situation of Kevin Durant going to Golden State (except his inner circle of friends, family, agent, and business partners). So when the world hears about “KD” going to the Warriors, many would assume he was only after his first elusive title that he could not obtain in Oklahoma City as the face of the Thunder. But fans, media, sports reporters, or analysts, have no idea why an athlete might make such a controversial decision. There are simply too many factors that go in to such a life altering move.
Just recently, A big trade went down between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics with all kinds of rumors about players and why they left. Many fans, media, and even teammates were left feeling helpless and empty-handed when the teams and players reached an agreement.
To help shed some light on what an NBA player musts go through in his career, Caron Butler, who has had a very successful career as a veteran for many NBA teams, provided this statement. “Celtics traded a guy who played in a game for them a day after his sister died, but y’all expect players to be loyal to the franchise, sure …@isaiahthomas Much love brother. I got traded before. It was painful. Players leave for different team, ‘They’re disloyal! A Judas!’ Teams trade a player who gave his heart and soul to the city and team, it’s called business. Hmmm. Does that make sense? The best way to deal with this business is not to have expectations from anyone but yourself. Keep being you. #keepinspiring #example #GIANT.”
Ray Allen, who is easily regarded as one of the best shooters to ever play in the NBA, did not differ from Butler’s statement at all. He responded to Butler by saying, “I immediately thought the same thing. Why is it that we are disloyal for going to a team we feel will be best for us, but there is no outrage towards the teams that trade us. Fans kill us, but when a team does it, it’s just business. SMH! I expect every Celtic fan to be pissed off at the organization because they showed that they were disloyal to Isaiah. They traded him to your rival! The team you guys played in the conference finals. Oh wait, now it’s just business!”
With that being said, maybe it is time the world of basketball should focus its attention on the people in the front offices of these organizations, such as the presidents, vice presidents, managers, directors of basketball operations, or even the owners. Players have to do what is best for themselves and for their families and their future, knowing basketball will not last forever, and their careers could be cut short at any time. So now, keep in mind professional basketball truly is a business, nowhere more so than the NBA. Like most businesses, there are the workers, and there are the owners of the companies that cut the paychecks. The NBA is no different. Being mindful of this next time your favorite player appears to “jump ship”, remember he or she has a personal life with a family and close friends. You are merely one of potentially millions of fans in their fan base. It is not acceptable to go online and begin slandering what they have worked hard for.
Basketball is a lifestyle.
Life is never fair, but do not make things worse for the players that have reached the pinnacle of basketball glory and continue to do great things in the game. Instead, thank them for their hard work, dedication, and time spent in the city they played.