Why Are We Attached to Athletes?


Whichever sport you watch, do you cheer for teams, or for the athletes? Perhaps you cheer for one or the other, but maybe you have a favorite team, as well as a few favorite athletes. Regardless of which category you fall under, how do you feel when players leave other teams? 

Since the last NBA offseason, it appears that most people hate it, but why? Have you yourself never switched companies for better pay, or a higher position? Today, I’m going to defend athletes who have “deserted” their beloved fans for fame or fortune. Before we jump all over these guys about their controversial decisions, let’s take a look at all the other factors involved.

Have you ever had goals? Of course. It’s what drives us to be successful, no matter what field we’re in. It’s only natural that athletes have goals themselves. Some guys grow up wanting to win titles, and for others, it’s just about having the chance to play the game at an elite level. 

Kevin Durant took some brutal hits from social media over the past season. The problem seems to be growing in the NBA, but when there’s only five starters, adding one player is a bigger boost than the NFL for example, where you have 22 potential starters. The point is, we should not criticize these guys for pursuing their goals.

Keep in mind, I’m not saying fans don’t have the right to be upset when a star leaves. To criticize someone, or to claim his title has an asterisk next to it is a little over the line though. A common comparison is the LeBron vs MJ debate. 

We won’t get into that for the fact that this article would then become the size of Stephen King novel, but the Bulls built around Michael. In today’s game however, managers of teams are failing to do that, forcing players to move in order to win titles. Fans and owners have also become increasingly impatient as well, forcing new managers and coaches to win now, or get lost. 

On the surface, whenever a big name leaves a team via free agency, what you hear is that the individual wanted to explore other opportunities. While the team states they tried everything they could to keep said athlete, the bottom line is that the team couldn’t give the athlete what they wanted. 

This could entail money, or a better shot at a title, but why should it be on the athlete to stay and give up his goals to make a fan base happy? 

To play devil’s advocate, I admire Tom Brady for staying in New England and taking less money to allow the team to build around him, but by all rights, he should be the highest paid quarterback in the league. If he left New England to be the highest paid player, I wouldn’t blame him, because that’s something he earned.

No matter what team you cheer for, it’s best not to get attached to the stars. Keep in mind those players have goals, and if another team is going to give said player a better opportunity at achieving those goals, then why not? 

The sports industry is a big business, and contracts eventually expire. The next time your team has a star hit free agency, put yourself in their shoes, and attempt to see it from both sides. Could you turn down a shot at a title? Could you turn down that huge offer? 

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