Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Durant’

Fan reaction to NBA player movement

December 22, 2011

With the lockout shortened season and offseason, it has been a crazy, shortened lead-up to the first games on Christmas day. These past few weeks have been led by Dwight Howard and Chris Paul wanting trades out of their current location. This has caused uproar against NBA stars “asking out” of their current situations, and not just from fans of the Magic or Hornets, but by NBA fans all over—including some still bitter Cleveland fans.

This fan reaction is based on the idea that they have supported said players, and those guys shouldn’t just turn their back on the team and city. But if we look at it from the players’ viewpoint, it is a little different.

I am a fan, I love sports, and in particular basketball. I have a favorite team that we cheer for, and of course I’d be upset if the team I cheered for lost its best player. But fans shouldn’t look at it as the player stabbing us in the back. It’s a business decision for the athlete.

I think fans believe in loyalty in sports, but it isn’t necessarily true because it’s different for fans and players. Fans have, for the most part, loved the same team their entire lives (And if a fan has switched teams there is a good chance they aren’t truly fans, and have no right to be upset about “their favorite team” losing a player.). Because of this lifetime connection, fans are more attached to a team than the players are.

And for the players it’s a business when it comes down to it: it’s their job. Their employer is the Los Angeles Lakers or the Memphis Grizzlies or whomever. They probably didn’t grow up watching and loving that team the way a fan has.

They’ve been playing for a certain team for six years, not quite the amount of time you need to develop a connection and love for something (unless it’s a love for Chipotle, then that only takes one glorious trip and a few seconds of a delicious burrito). It’s their job, and Vince Carter aside, they mostly try their best night in and night out.

And that’s really all a fan can ask for—while a player is on the team, he does the best he can. And if he stays his entire career, or just finishes his rookie contract, that’s life.

Cavs fans were not happy with "The Decision"

There were so many negative things said about LeBron James when he left Cleveland, but what would fans have done in that situation. Money isn’t a problem to James, with what he’s made on the court and his endorsement deals off it, he doesn’t need the cash. So it was really an opportunity for LeBron: an opportunity to go play with his buddies, in Miami, and still make a lot of money. And his buddies just happen to be some of the best players in the league.

If I had the chance to work with two of my best friends, in a beautiful location and make a lot of money, I would do it in a second (Hell, I’ve had this conversation with a couple of my friends already, and think it would be a dream situation to work with people you have such a good time with.). And most fans probably would as well. We wouldn’t make our decision on a nationally televised special, because that is just stupid and “ego-tastic,” but we’d probably go work, and more importantly have fun, with our friends. And I don’t want Dwight or LeBron giving me career advice, unless it’s in the form of a check with a lot of zeroes.

So now that Paul and Howard are asking for trades, fans shouldn’t be getting upset again. It’s life…it’s their business. This is what happens in business. If people see something better going on in another company, even at a competitor, they make the move. You don’t want to be stuck in a bad job, with coworkers who aren’t able to help you reach your potential, right? When we make business decisions, we probably don’t think about how it will affect every last customer. Why do we hold athletes to higher standards?

Dwight could have gone about this in a better fashion.

If you want out, that’s fine, but either say you want out, or live with the situation. Dwight Howard asked for a trade then later said he wanted to stay in Orlando and he loved it there, or some line of crap he threw into the faces of the fans. Look, Dwight, and any other NBA player, has a right to ask for a trade and get out of his current location. Although from where I am right now, Orlando looks like a pretty sweet place to live. But if he wants to go that’s fine; just don’t go back and forth.

It’s bigger than him, he’s messing with the fans and that isn’t right. If you ask for a trade and the Magic don’t accept an offer, then you’ll have to play there for a year. But don’t try to make it easier for yourself by saying you love it there. If you loved it so much, you wouldn’t have requested a trade in the first place.

In a perfect world, he would quietly ask the GM for a trade, and go about his business as usual. And if a trade didn’t happen, then he would play the year out. Howard and Paul (who has already been traded) are both set to be free agents after this year anyway. After the 2011-2012 season, they are free to go wherever they want. And I mean wherever they want. Whether that is Orlando, New York, Los Angeles, Turkey or China…he earned the right to make his decision.

In a recent article Sam Smith commented on something similar to this. “Many of the NBA’s stars have transcendent talent, but they lack the will and desire to stand up for anything but their own comfort,” Smith wrote. You wish somewhere along the way someone was able to coach and teach them, but they probably never had the desire or inclination. And so they keep searching for the easy way.”

And with this idea in mind, doesn’t this make the guys like Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant that much more special? They want to win where they are. They did luck out with their teams though, don’t get me wrong. Both guys are in better situations than LeBron and Chris Paul were in, but I don’t think it would matter to them either way. They are happy to be in the city they are in, with the teammates they have.

As a Bulls fan, I’d hate to see Rose go somewhere else. It would kill me if he was doing reverse layups or tomahawk dunks in colors other than red and white, but that’s the game. I’d still love him, I’d still cheer for him…I’d be lying if I said it would be the same, but I know that’s part of sports.

That’s why I feel bad for fans when their favorite player leaves, or their team’s best player wants a trade. But that’s how professional sports are.

And if we flip this around, the owners would do the same thing if they had a chance. LeBron wasn’t worth any more to Dan Gilbert than what he could get out of him. There is no loyalty for sport’s owners; it’s what have you done for me lately and what can you do in the future. If LeBron wasn’t selling out Cleveland home and away games, Gilbert wouldn’t have cared if he went to Miami. But since he was the face of the franchise he should have less say in his situation?

That seems backwards to me…he should have more say, because he earned it more. Those Cleveland teams were not good—er they were actually really bad. Yet, LeBron brought them to Eastern Conference Semifinals three times, the Eastern Conference Finals once and the NBA Finals once as well. Without LeBron, that team would have won around 20 games, much like they did last season, when they won 19 in their first post-LeBron season.

Cavs fans should be able to love LeBron for what he gave them those seven years in Cleveland, not what he did on that hour television special. LeBron had the right to choose wherever he wanted to go…he shouldn’t have made his Decision the way he did, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have the right to choose.

And in the end, it comes down to the player’s choice. Because as fans, we may put a lot into the game, but our opinions don’t matter much, only our wallets do.

Athletes we love

October 14, 2011

This post and our next post will be all about the athletes who play the game. And whether or not we love or hate those athletes. Up first are the athletes we love (not all the athletes, just some of our favorites).

Michael Jordan: The greatest basketball player ever has to go top on this list. You knew exactly what you were getting from MJ. Every time on the court he gave his all. It’s not even possible to put a highlight reel of Air Jordan together (some people try), because it would be too long. Six-time NBA champ, five-time MVP (should have been more), six-time NBA Finals MVP, 14-time All Star, ten-time scoring champ, three time steals leader…OK I’ll stop there. There may never be someone as clutch as Michael again. And it wasn’t just his athleticism. He redefined his game as he got older and still dominated the league. Just remember he was not only the best offensive player in the league at the time, but also the best defensive player—an improbable combination that created one of the greatest careers in sports.

Derrick Rose: There isn’t any Bulls bias here…Rose is just the most fun player in the NBA to watch right now. That’s not to say he’s the best in the league, but he can get there. The jump he made last year was incredible. Rose truly cares about the game and wants to get better. You cannot say that for everyone in the league. While some people are out at clubs getting drunk, PBSB pictures Rose at home just hanging out. It’s perfectly fine either way (party or not) but we want the star of our team to care more about basketball than the hoochies at the bar. Rose extended his range, got even stronger and worked on his defense last offseason (some Derrick Rose in HD!); we can’t wait to see how he improves this year (get the season going!).

Richard Gasquet: This man has the prettiest backhand in the world. That isn’t a euphemism, he’s a tennis player. Gasquet hasn’t won a major yet, but he had some great tournaments last year. He also got off of a suspension for drugs, by claiming that he kissed a girl at a club who had cocaine on her lips. So whichever way that story goes, I’d like to hear more. We can even overlook the fact that he’s French and say we love him.

Ken Griffey Jr: The number one thing we can say about him is that he did it the right way. Nothing points to illegal substances and the shape of Junior’s career is the natural shape that it’s supposed to take. Great when he was younger and decayed with age. He always had a smile on his face and seemed like the most approachable guy in the world. He would be the all time home run had he not put his body on the line so much in centerfield…and had so many other players not used steroids.

Maria Kirilenko and Ana Ivanovic: Only a picture is needed to let you know why we love these ladies, so click on the links. We’ll wait…you done? How about now? OK. So, are they the best tennis players ever? No, but Ivanovic has a major win and Kirilenko is an up-and-coming 24-year-old. We don’t always have to watch sports for the talent, sometimes we watch for other things.

Andre Johnson: Johnson just does what he is supposed to. He catches balls and makes plays, but doesn’t have to bring attention to himself. And also he beat the crap out of Cortland Finnegan, which PBSB is OK with. And he has a really sweet voice. Sultry smooth.

Ed Reed: PBSB loves a guy who does anything to get into the endzone. And that is Ed Reed. He will pitch it, or even steal it from his teammate to score points. Reed interceptions are the most second exciting things in the NFL (only losing to Devin Hester returns…and speaking of Hester)

Devin Hester: Sports are about excitement and nobody brings more excitement when he touches the ball than Devin Hester. Anytime Devin has his mitts on the pigskin, it could go for six (or he could fumble it, but that’s exciting too). Here are the best from college and the pros.

Kevin Durant: Just like Andre Johnson, there is something to be said for guys that just do their job, and do it extremely well. KD is the best scorer in the league and a blast to watch, it only helps him that he is on a fun team like the Thunder. The only thing he is missing is a good nickname. And an MVP trophy.

Kyle Farnsworth: Not for his pitching…no we don’t care about that. It’s for this. Dude is a fighter. Just like Nolan Ryan, Farnsworth isn’t afraid to
beat the crap out of someone who he just threw inside on.

Mark Titus: Perhaps we see ourselves in Titus. We never peaked at the athletic level we wished. But PBSB did combine for one of the greatest plays in sixth grade basketball history. Sadly no film of this play exists, but just trust us, it was awesome. Any, Titus was the basketball walk-on at Ohio State that created the Club Trillion blog. Titus can laugh about himself, but he can still ball. A guy who knows his limits and can entertain us is a combination we can get on board with.

Charles Barkley: Chuck is just a fun loving guy. He was fun to watch as a player, and he may be just as fun to watch now as a personality. Charles was just 6-6, but averaged 11.7 rebound a game. In his post-basketball career Barley isn’t afraid to tell it how it is—or more accurately how he sees it—on any topic. It’s refreshing to find a guy that doesn’t care what others think and just speaks his mind, with humor as well.

Shaquille O’Neal: What’s not to love about Shaq? He was dominant on and off the court, winning 4 NBA titles, rookie of the year in 1993 and MVP in 2000 amongst many other accolades. Shaq was not only born for the basketball court, but also the stage. Shaq is both a versatile actor and rapper.

Jim Thorpe: An Olympic Gold Medalist in 1912 in the pentathlon and decathlon, played collegiate and pro football, baseball and basketball. And do you have a town named after you?

Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson (as an athlete, relax): Orenthal started turning heads while at USC where he won the Walter Camp Award twice, theMaxwell Award and the Heisman Trophy in a landslide. Juice was a gifted runner who was the first NFL back to rush for over 2,000 yards (in a 14 game season) with the Buffalo Bills. He also acted and did some commentating before you know the whole murder case thing.

Jim Brown: He is considered by many to be the best football player of all time. 9 Pro Bowls, 3 MVPs, 9 All Pro Team selections, over 12,000 yards, 120 TDs and much more, all with the Cleveland Browns. He dabbled in acting and is also a member of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. The scariest thing about Brown? People say he was better at lacrosse than football.

Young Brett Favre: Young Favre (1992-2006ish) was the poster child for the blue collar, tough nosed, selfless athlete. He holds virtually every NFL passing record including TDs (508), yards (71,838) and consecutive starts (297). Favre was named MVP three consecutive seasons (1995-97), was a Super Bowl Champion in 1996 and simply had fun out there making a name for himself as a gunslinger.

Jackie Robinson: Not much needs to be said about the man that bravely broke down the color barrier in professional baseball all while putting up some great stats including a .311 BA, .409 OBP and over 1,500 hits.

Wilt Chamerberlain: A Harlem Globetrotter, the only player to drop 100 pts in a game and the dude also had game off the court.

Barry Sanders: Watching Barry Sanders run was beautiful, even if it was against your favorite team. No one should be able to change directions that fast. Speed, vision, quickness Sanders had it all. He didn’t need to run through people, because he could just run around them. One of the greatest people to make a highlight reel of, there will never be another Barry Sanders.

Bo Jackson: Bo Knows that there’s a trend here with these multi-sport athletes. Jackson was an all-star in the NFL and MLB. He was drafted by the Yankees, but chose to play college football on scholarship at Auburn where he went on to win the Heisman.