This past summer, as anyone who either knows me or read some of my rants on this topic can attest to, I faced a dilemma of almost unparallelled sports proportion. The star player of my favorite basketball team decided he had enough with playing for said team and took his talents elsewhere, leaving me to wonder if I should still be a huge fan of his.
Well, to be exact, he took his talents to South Beach.
Yep, I’m one of the ravenous Cleveland Cavaliers fans who lost the best player in the league to the glitz and glamor of Miami and the pull of recreating his high school days. This loss, which I’m mostly over by now (yes, mostly, I’m not going to lie to you on this…much), put me in a situation that I’ve never really been in before, do I still root for this player who spurned my team or boo him for his actions?
In all honesty, due to the way it went down, I chose the boo option because the how part of his leaving completely went in the face of everything this athlete portrayed to stand for in the 7 years he spent wowing me on the court.
But what if he left ‘the right way’? Would I still be booing him today?
The question of team loyalty against player loyalty is one that has become somewhat a mainstream question thanks mainly to the growing phenomenon of fantasy sports. Fantasy sports have placed the fan in the uncomfortable situation of rooting for players of teams not their own that a true fanatic of a decade ago would never consider and would probably chop off an arm before actually doing.
For my part, I don’t do fantasy basketball (football is my fantasy sport of choice), so I can take that out of the equation when considering the question of player vs team. Oh, and yes, for the record, it IS player vs team in this regard because I believe that while you can admire other players, true devotion should be focused on your teams and the players currently on them.
That being said, I guess I answered my own question. Team trumps player, no matter what.
While it was hard losing he-who-will-not-be-named, and even harder still watching this season of Cavs basketball, I am a Cavs fan first and will be no matter what happens. And if another superstar graces my team for a few years and leaves, I will enjoy him while we have him and probably curse his name when he leaves.
Hey, just being honest.
Photo Courtesy of: AP Images