Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Loyalty: Players v. Fans

Patrick Says...

Hello again! I promise, this post is not about the Broncos... I will say, a week after their win in the big game, I am still absolutely reeling. If you follow my posts, you may realize my in depth analysis of the quarterback situation was for none. Turns out it didn’t seem to matter much who the quarterback was. The Broncos suffocating defensive play throughout the playoffs was what ultimately led them to victory. At no time was the elite status of the defense more evident than during Superbowl 50. So congrats to the Broncos and to Peyton who will hopefully take this opportunity to go out on top.

Anyway, we have just finished NBA All-Star weekend and I figured it would be a good opportunity expand on the topic I last wrote about:  loyalty. As fans, many of us are deeply loyal to our teams. Through thick and thin, we stick by them. Any true fan has experienced immense pride in their team, and also bitter betrayal. Now what about the players, coaches, and owners?  We hear all the time from players who've been released or traded, “it’s just part of the business.” It's true, professional sports teams are driven by revenue and at the end of the day, they are part of the entertainment industry. However, it does not take away from the fact these are still humans playing a game at a very high, emotional level. So, I have to think loyalty, betrayal, and pride have a consistent place in sports. 

BIG NEWS: I now officially live in Chicago now!  I don't know about you, but when I think of Chicago sports, the first name that comes to mind is Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls. If you'e not familiar, check out an earlier post by my D. Rose fan of a girlfriend, here. The short of it is, he was born and raised in Chicago, drafted with the number one overall pick by the Bulls, and won league MVP during his second season in the league. The man had it all until a number of injuries sidelined his career. As he struggles to get back on track trade rumors circulate here and there, though the credibility of these rumors are questionable.  Up until now the Bulls have stayed loyal to Rose and Rose loyal to his team.

My question in all of this is, is this actually loyalty from the Chicago Bulls to their hometown kid? Are they giving him every possible chance to regain his MVP form and lead the team to a title? Sticking by him through thick and thin?  Or is it all about the money?

Rose was the youngest player to be named MVP of the league at age 22. At 23, the Bulls signed him to a 5 year, $94 million contact. That same year, Rose tore his ACL during the playoffs which started his run of tragic injuries. The good news for Rose? He plays in the NBA and not in the NFL. Not to get into too much detail but NBA contracts are mostly guaranteed... the NFL’s, mostly not. We hear about it every year, players getting cut from NFL teams to make create cap room. So, if the contracts were set up in a way the Bulls could easily part ways with Rose, would they have taken that opportunity? Perhaps we will know when he is a free agent in 2017. My hope: the Bulls will resign him, albeit at much lower number than he saw when he was 23. I expect Rose would stay loyal, but with the trend we've seen in the NBA of players chasing rings no matter what team or city it’s for, you just never know.  It all started with the Celtics acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join Paul Piece and bring a title to Bean town. And of course, it continued with the more hyped, LeBron James storyline between Miami, where the championship was there for the taking, and Cleveland, his "beloved" hometown. Currently, the buzz is of Kevin Durant's aspirations in Golden State (yes…seriously).

Being a fan of small market teams, I would like this trend to go in the opposite way, though I understand the lure for all-star players to go to big market cities.  Now, I'm not saying I want leagues to control the outcome of trades and free agent signings, a la the Chris Paul trade veto a few years ago. At the end of the day, it would just be nice if players could show some loyalty to a team that took a chance to draft them and vice versa...a little loyalty to the players the team invested sometimes millions of dollars in.  Maybe D-Rose will set the stage for players to maintain allegiance to their roots, by resigning with the Bulls for the rest of his career. In a perfect world, they'd have a little success and the NBA's sense of devotion would be renewed. A guy can dream can't he?

1 comment:

  1. Love this!!! The problem with Rose is he's never really "healthy" the entire season.. Sad because he's actually really good...hope he gets to stay