White Collar Loyalty

Imagine you’ve been working for the same company for nine years, and the situation was getting pretty stale to you. The pay is decent, the people are fine, some of them you’ve formed genuine friendships with, but it’s just not working out. You’re ready for something new. No one would ever look twice at you for leaving your position to go accept an offer for something better. The NBA is a business, so what exactly does loyalty mean?

Even dating back to the Basketball Association of America, the original name of the NBA prior to the merger with the failing National Basketball League in 1947, it was all about business. The Minneapolis Lakers were a basketball dynasty, winning five championships in their superstar George Mikan’s nine-year BAA/NBA playing career, and yet, they still moved to Los Angeles just five seasons after their last championship in Minneapolis for bigger profit and attendance. It’s always been about business.

Still not convinced? Just take a look at some of the names of the professional basketball teams of the National Basketball League in the 1930s, some of my favorites being The Flint Dow A.C.’s, The Akron Firestone Non-Skids, and who could forget the legendary Toledo Jim White Chevrolets, who folded four games into their second season in the NBL. It’s always been about business. Human beings are drawn to a good story. Industries recognize this, and thus the marketing business was created. How can our brand appease you today?

I understand why we ask our superstars to stay loyal. It paints a better picture of them in some odd professional way, much like the guy who actually does stay with one company for a long time. It can provide life and culture to a city, especially one struggling to fill the limelight with celebrities or stories. Not every city is New York or Los Angeles, which is why no matter how shit they are, the Knicks and the Lakers will always rake in the money.

It is however, completely ridiculous to actually expect a grown man to devoid himself of the opportunity to achieve something he’s been fighting to achieve his entire life. Many people like to throw out the “given not earned” argument, but let’s be honest, do you honestly believe Kevin Durant was given his ring? Do you think everyone in the NBA just let the Warriors win the championship this year?

People can complain, but this Warriors team is a natural byproduct of the consumer-centric marketplace that is the United States of America. People want highlights, people want three-pointers and dunks, well, here you go. Here’s the team that perfectly epitomizes your era. You’re telling me it’s bad for the NBA, but I don’t see how when LeBron posted an Instagram video today showing his newly shaved head, and people immediately assumed he must have something up his sleeve, because how could he be so happy after losing in five to the Warriors? We’re in a Golden Age of Basketball, enjoy it while it’s here, and stop trying to apply your archaic principles on us.

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