It’s never easy to become a household name here in the NBA, and loyalty is not something that grows out of trees nowadays in sports, considering players often rather to win a lot of money or pursue their dreams of stardom elsewhere and take their talents to other spots after a couple of years.
We’ve seen what Kevin Durant did to the Oklahoma City Thunder in order to win a Championship, what LeBron James did to the Cleveland Cavaliers, what Paul George did to the Indiana Pacers and most recently, Gordon Hayward to the Utah Jazz, and it’s getting more and more common to watch players leave their current teams just to thrive in another spot.
But, over the course of history, we’ve also seen guys like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant; guys that would rather leave their wives and kids before actually leaving the teams where they succeeded the most.
As I mentioned before, this won’t come easy nowadays and perhaps just a handful of players could replicate what this aforementioned stars did, spending their entire career as members of a single franchise, and today we’ll let you know about those 6 guys that we believe are staying put at their teams for good.
Stephen Curry arrived in the NBA after leading the NCAA in scoring, but nobody had much trust in Dell Curry’s son considering he was pretty much just a shooter with no defensive upside and a lot of durability concerns, with the Golden State Warriors taking a shot on him but never jeopardizing a lot of money in him and his broken ankles.
Several years later, all those concerns are just water under the bridge, with Stephen Curry being considered the best shooter of all times and recently inking his signature in one of the most lucrative contracts ever, also winning a couple of rings and MVP awards, so there’s no reason to believe Steph could ever leave the Warriors despite all the speculation about a possible departure to play for Charlotte.
Just like Duncan, Parker and Ginobili before him, Kawhi Leonard could show his loyalty to the most functional and consistent franchise in competitive sports: the San Antonio Spurs, spending his entire career as a member of Gregg Popovich squad as a steady contender and frontrunner to win the O'Brien.
Leonard has thrived and blossomed over the last couple of seasons and has surged as the best two-way player in the Association, and now that he’s become the cornerstone of the franchise and the focal point of Popovich’s offensive system, he’s set to become one of the best players in the history of the franchise and they’ll do everything they can to retain him for good.
Anthony Davis is a guy that has mightily struggled to prove his worth and lead the New Orleans Pelicans to the promised land due to the lack of a capable support cast around him, creating a lot of speculation regarding possible trade requests for the All-Star big men.
Nonetheless, the two way forward-center and shot blocking specialist is probably never leaving the franchise despite struggling to go past the first round of the playoffs, with the team’s front office keen and determined to retain him and trying their best to put a lot of talent alongside him, and he’ll definitely lead the franchise in points, boards and blocks at some point in his career.
Another Kentucky player makes our list: John Wall, a guy that entered the league as a lousy shooter with some turnovers and consistency concerns and has recently surged to become the best point guard in the Eastern Conference and already a top 5 player in Washington Wizards history.
Wall recently signed a very lucrative extension and it’s definitely the Wizards’ go to guy despite sharing the backcourt with Bradley Beal, and he’s just the kind of player that will never stop competing and considering he’s just to enter his prime while LeBron James is nearing towards the end of his career, we could expect the best of Wall to still be ahead of us.
Damian Lillard is one of the most underrated NBA players we’ve seen over the last decade, as he’s one of the most clutch scorers and fierce competitors this game has seen in a long while, although his defensive ability isn’t quite there, but he wouldn’t be the first point guard to thrive in one end of the court and be a liability in the other.
Besides, Lillard has been all about loyalty with his statements over the years, saying that he was extremely committed to the Portland Trail Blazers even after LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum left the team some seasons ago, and proving his desire to stay put at Portland for the long run even if that meant being the lone talented player in the team.
And last but not least, we have the reigning MVP, the Brodie, the walking triple double and a synonym of loyalty: Russell Westbrook. Westbrook showed his commitment to the Thunder immediately after Kevin Durant decided to take his talents to the bay and play with the Golden State Warriors, signing a contract extension to stay put as the franchise’s go-to-guy.
Westbrook is the kind of guy that would rather spend his entire career with one team and never win a Championship than being just another piggy back rider on a ring chase run, and he’s managed to put an end to all those rumours of him leaving the Thunder to play for the Los Angeles Lakers at some point in his career, and we just don’t see him ever leaving the Thunder after all he’s done for them.