Jeanie Buss believes that we may never see an NBA player as loyal as Kobe Bryant was to the Lakers, or Dirk to the Mavericks, ever again.
The player empowerment era has changed the NBA and its player movement forever, in irreversible ways. We’re seeing more and more high-paid superstar players demanding trades away from their current teams.
This happens because after 2-3 years of grinding without a championship, every superstar becomes frustrated with his situation. Winning a championship is the ultimate aim in any sport. And of the 30 NBA teams, only a few of them have a realistic chance in any given year.
This phenomenon was a problem even before the turn of the century. But the teaming up of superstar free agents after hatching plans together from different teams is definitely a new development.
As a result, many NBA fans are beginning to question how loyal their favorite players truly are. It’s a good thing for the likes of Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal to preach and practice loyalty. But are they really satisfied with being icons in their city, but not champions?
Jeanie Buss explains how rare Kobe Bryant was in terms of loyalty to the Lakers
Jeanie Buss was interviewed by The Athletic a few weeks ago. The Lakers’ owner opened her heart out after the Russell Westbrook trade and the Melo signing.
She talked at length about how the presence of Kobe made the Lakers a desirable free agent destination. She also talked about how the influence of supermax contracts and players is changing player movement in the NBA:
“With Kobe to have played on one team for 20 years, I really don’t think you’re ever going to see that again. It’s going to be very rare to see that. It’s just the way the collective bargaining agreement is, it encourages a lot more movement than it did before.”
“And I do think it’s made the league more interesting, more balanced in increasing engagement in the offseason … there were so many headlines (during the NBA’s free agency period) that put us right up there with the Olympics going on.”