Carmelo Anthony was brutally honest about his take on loyalty in the NBA. With the 2021 NBA Offseason seeing some major moves take place and multiple teams looking to make a solid run at the championship, blockbuster deals weren't out of the question. The LA Lakers made big moves, Carmelo Anthony being one of the noteworthy ones.
"I don’t feel like there’s loyalty in sports. When you talk about loyalty then and what my morals is based off of, I still carry those basics of loyalty today in my life. Sports is just sports. It’s a business. There’s no loyalty in sports. You’re an athlete, that’s your profession, you get paid to do that. No one has to be loyal to you. Me just kinda knowing that and having that mentality growing up and learning that, I know what loyalty feels like and I know what it feels like when somebody’s disloyal to you or not loyal as you are. I still carry those basics of loyalty with me today."
Anthony enters his 19th season in the NBA this upcoming campaign. Having played around with numerous franchises in the capacity of a superstar in his prime, he has joined the Lakers as a role player in the twilight of his career.
Carmelo Anthony's take on loyalty in the NBA
The likes of Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant are names that come to mind from recent memory when we think of loyalty. All these players played 20 seasons and won championships for one team, which is satisfying in its own right. But what Carmelo Anthony has to say on the matter isn't all out of line. The NBA is certainly a business.
Anthony started his career with the Denver Nuggets. After a loss to the Lakers in the 2009 Western Conference Finals, the Nuggets wanted to go into a rebuild. As Anthony entered his physical prime, the window in which he could compete for a championship became smaller.
Carmelo Anthony was eventually traded to the New York Knicks in 2011 where he achieved superstar status. This is a prime example of the transactional relationship between franchise and player.
In the context of what Carmelo Anthony said, loyalty in sports is fickle because of the nature of transaction. A player can be tossed aside just as easily as a player can choose a different franchise. Having faced a situation with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets that saw him waived and out of the league in 2018, Anthony's take on loyalty comes from a position of personal experience.
As the LA Lakers gear up to win a championship, the structure of the team presents the necessity of a "title or bust" mentality for the season. In this context, loyalty is dependent upon the chemistry between teammates and the relationship between ownership and player.
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