NBA Loyalty – It Doesn’t Exist

    Those of you who were surprised to see Steve Nash give up on a chance to end his career with the Phoenix Suns, instead opting to play for the Los Angeles Lakers for money and a better chance at at an NBA title were probably just as surprised as Ray Allen in Miami Heat uniform seems to be a done deal.

    Steve Nash was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. He played his college basketball in Santa Clara University. California. He began his NBA career with the Phoenix Suns, moved on to Dallas before returning to Phoenix, where he spent the last eight years.

    He spends his off season in New York each year. His mind is occupied with soccer and hoping to be a minority owner with Tottenham one day as much as it is about basketball. Part of the reason he chose the Lakers was the opportunity to still earn top dollar, around $8 million a season, something other teams like the Bulls or the Heat couldn’t offer him. Hollywood was another factor.

    Ray Allen was born near Merced, California. He grew up, like any army brat, all over. Saxmundham in England, Altus in Oklahoma, Edwards Air Force Base in California, and Germany. He played his high school ball in California, but played his college ball in Connecticut. He played seven seasons for the Milwaukee Bucks, five more for the Seattle Supersonics before making the move to the Boston Celtics, spending the last five years in the North East. Always green. The Miami Heat choice was actually a bit grudge, a bit hoping for another shot at the NBA title.

    Players rarely grow up in a state or town and actually get to play as a pro in the same place. LeBron James staying in Cleveland was a rarity. Derrick Rose playing for the Chicago Bulls is rare. LeBron James left, and so will Derrick Rose if the circumstances dictate that it’s going to be better for him elsewhere. We’ve been over this. A player has to do what a player has to do. Earn as much money as possible and/or look for the best opportunities for him individually, be it playing time and a central role or, usually later in his career, one last opportunity to win a title.

    Don’t take Tim Duncan as an example. He won the NBA title very early on, and the entire situation that’s been going on in San Antonio over the last 14 years is very unique. After four NBA titles and pretty much being the most succesful team in American sports over that period of time while being able to pay him and keep that competitive chance, there’s no reason to go anywhere else.

    Rivalries? There are no blood rivalries or red lines in the NBA. Ray Allen played against the Miami Heat these past three playoffs. There was quite a bit of animosity between the Celtics and the Heat, especially after LeBron James made that move. But the Heat beat the Celtics twice since that move. The Celtics? They offered to trade Ray Allen this season, which he didn’t like. They benched him for Avery Bradley. He stopped getting along with his point guard, Rajon Rondo. Loyalty? Why should he be?

    Steve Nash has a title ring to think about. He has current businesses and future financial aspirations. You take care of yourself, you bank account, your ego, your legacy. Your team, the community? It’s all business. When players can be traded between franchises 3000 miles apart without having a say on the matter, don’t be surprised when there’s no loyalty. Fans shouldn’t expect it.

    Image: James