Loyalty in pro sports has seemingly become nonexistent. Players leave franchises all the time to find a better place to win a championship.
Damian Lillard just signed an extension with the TrailBlazers worth $122 million.
This has led to some criticizing both Dame and the Trailblazers.
After Damian Lillard signed his two-year, $122 million extension this past week, his contract (along with 2012 NBA Draft classmate Bradley Beal’s) has become one of the most divisive topics among NBA analysts. On one end, loyalty and stability is celebrated; one the other, some, including The Athletic’s John Hollinger are wondering if it’s a move the Portland Trail Blazers front office will live to regret.
This is the completely wrong way to look at this situation. We need to get back to a point in the NBA where stars feel a tie to the franchises that drafted them. Those franchises should reciprocate the loyalty by doing all they can to put the players in a position to win.
Many are telling Dame to leave so he can win a ring. This brings up an important question in my view – shouldn’t we applaud superstars who choose loyalty over a Super Team championship?
If Dame never wins a ring many will hold that against him. Yet if he would just leave and join a Super Team it would change the conversation about him completely. This seems odd to me because if Dame decided to join a Super Team and got a ring as part of that team does that really make him a better player? Should his legacy be viewed differently than if he gave it all for the team that drafted him? The answer to that is of course no.
Dame should be applauded for his loyalty to Portland.