Carmelo Anthony believes that sport is a business, and loyalty should not be expected from athletes.
The NBA community tends to adore superstars who are loyal. Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Magic Johnson are only a few examples who became legendary mainly because they stayed with the same team throughout their careers.
These arguments have also become factors in fans hating athletes who dared leave their cities. When LeBron James made ‘The Decision’ to leave Cleveland after 6 years, Cavs fans did not hesitate to antagonize him. Burning his jerseys and booing him on court became commonplace.
Carmelo Anthony, however, does not believe that loyalty in sport should be a thing. During an interview with Complex before the launch of his book, “Where Tomorrow’s Aren’t Promised”, he said that being loyal is overrated.
“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.”
Melo’s quotes seem to be in line with his experiences with the Denver Nuggets. While with the team that drafted him, Melo never missed the playoffs. Nuggets fans, however, still hold his free agency decision in contempt. He was even booed when he faced the Nuggets this postseason, and wasn’t very happy about it.
Carmelo Anthony has himself had a great relationship with the city of New York.
Melo became a hero in New York after he won a national championship with Syracuse back in 2003. He came back after choosing to sign with the Knicks in 2011, adding to his long standing history with the city.
The Knicks could never build a great roster around their star, however, and ended up winning a single playoff series during his time.
Carmelo Anthony on his loyalty to the Knicks: “I don’t think I have to prove that to anybody.” — pic.twitter.com/muJXv3TAbn
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) January 17, 2017
Melo’s quote seems interesting in the wake of another superstar, Damian Lillard, reportedly wanting out of Portland. The Blazers front office has failed to pair Dame with another all star, despite vocal concerns from their franchise guy. If Dame leaves, however, hate from the Portland fan-base towards him seems inevitable.
The NBA community needs to re-evaluate the expectations it sometimes has from its stars. What Melo has raised is a really valid take. While fans waste no time in declaring someone washed, it is important to understand that loyalty is a two-way street.