Loyalty in sports is becoming increasingly rare as the years go by, with big money contracts and promises of forming super teams luring franchise players away from the teams that drafted them.
All you need to do is look at this past offseason in the NBA to notice the trend of players moving to greener pastures. Big names such as Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Paul George all changed teams this year, a number seemingly larger than any year prior.
Still, loyalty does exist in the NBA, but it’s rare to find. To demonstrate this in simple terms, we’ve taken some All-Star names, along with some lesser talented players, and translated their loyalty so far in the NBA into a one-size-fits-all rating from 25-99, much like how NBA 2K does their ratings when it comes to player’s skillsets.
Dirk Nowitzki – 99 Loyalty
The gold standard when it comes to sports loyalty. Mark Cuban has treated Dirk very well for his loyalty towards the Dallas franchise.
Kobe Bryant – 95 Loyalty
Even though Kobe was the first player to play 20 seasons with one franchise, he takes a slight hit due to his trade request back in 2007.
Tim Duncan – 97 Loyalty
Tim Duncan played his entire career for the San Antonio Spurs, but there was a point back in 2000 where Duncan was considering signing with the Orlando Magic to team up with McGrady and Hill.
Udonis Haslem – 99 Loyalty
Much like Dirk, Udonis Haslem has played all of his seasons in the NBA for the Miami Heat, both through the good and the bad, and he’s become a Miami legend because of it.
Kawhi Leonard – 90 Loyalty
Kawhi could turn out just like Tim Duncan once all is said and done, but there’s still time for a big franchise to offer him an insane amount of money to play elsewhere.
Russell Westbrook – 93 Loyalty
Westbrook still has time to move to another team late in his career, but after signing a massive extension with OKC, he’s not going anywhere in the near future.
Shaquille O’Neal – 40 Loyalty
Shaq played for 6 franchises over the course of his career, never playing for a team for more than 8 seasons over the course of his 19-year career.
Kyrie Irving – 35 Loyalty
Even after all the success Kyrie had alongside LeBron James in Cleveland, Irving valued wanting to win on his own accord more, and requested a trade from the Cavs and was sent to Boston.
Kevin Durant – 25 Loyalty
All that needs to be said is that Durant left a team that was one win away from another NBA Finals appearance to join the same team that beat him in the Western Conference Finals.