How many of us in our respective field want to reach the top? Can you achieve that staying in one place? The ultimate goal for a sports journalist is too maybe be a Senior Writer or Broadcaster at ESPN. Another sports journalist goal may be to open their own sports media company one day. Two opposite mentalities hoping to achieve high levels of success. A tall task for either side, but if they both achieved that dream, who would you rank more successful?
It’s hard to choose in my opinion, there are all types of paths to success in life. While some people want and are built to be the head of things, others would much rather be a piece of an important core of people. The choice we have as people to choose where and who we work for should be the same for the NBA.
Why It’s Time To Accept Player Mobility In The NBA
Finding Success while keeping your mentality
One of the most controversial moves made in recent was, of course, Kevin Durant‘s decision to sign with the Golden State Warriors two season ago. Highly scrutinized by fans, media, and even players, Durant’s decision still hasn’t sat well with most fans. While receiving mostly negative feedback from his choice, I commend the former MVP for his business decision.
Durant went to the one place where he felt needed, and he felt his skills would get used the most effective. Golden State played the style of basketball Durant knew his skills would translate right into. Not only did the style match the personnel, but it matched his personality and outlook on basketball. Two years later the Warriors have won two rings in a row and Durant has been named Finals MVP both times. The Warriors are on the cusp of being considered a dynasty if they already aren’t, and were still mad at Durant for leaving OKC?
Durant played 9 years in Seattle/OKC in which they had five 50+ win seasons, eight playoff appearances, three WCF appearances and one final appearance. The previous 9 seasons before that, Seattle had one 50+ win season and zero conference finals appearances. At some point, you need to change your surroundings and start fresh. We wouldn’t chastise people moving to a better work situation that has better management and advancement opportunities. Why should it be any different in the NBA business?
We expect our NBA players to hold some sense of “loyalty” to the team that drafted them but the business of the NBA is just that, a business. DeMar DeRozan expressed his love for Toronto and how much he wanted to stay there all the time. One week after being promised he wouldn’t be moved, he was traded to San Antonio for Kawhi Leonard. The business saw the opportunity to better itself and got rid of one of its branches for another. It didn’t matter that DeRozan had been there for 9 years and was loved in Toronto. What mattered was doing what was best for the Toronto Raptors.
Keep in mind that all players aren’t built with the same mentality. While we want our superstars to replicate Kobe Bryant’s mentality or Michael Jordan, some aren’t built to be that type of leader. A strong leader can be effective if he can maintains the burden of a whole team while still performing. An effective core or team can be just as successful and/or dominate especially if all the pieces work. Let’s stop trying to fantasize these NBA players into who we think or want them to be. Instead just accept them for who they are as people and professionals.
Players should approach their careers with that same energy that these “loyal” organizations do. They should put themselves first, make as much money as you can and play where you want to play. While being in one place may seem like the best thing, that doesn’t mean that is where your story ends. Player mobility shouldn’t make us mad or upset, it should be embraced. Instead of being mad at Golden State, ask yourself why youe franchise didn’t make the necessary moves to be successful. That is where maybe your anger should be directed.