John Salley, the former NBA star turned analyst, was right a while back when he suggested professional athletes are more league employees than property of individual teams. Most have no problem flipping their allegiance and embracing the team paying them. Players get shuffled around, but they all work under the league umbrella.
The transition is far more difficult for fans who are left behind. Fans invest time, money and emotions and come to appreciate certain players. Suddenly, they see him wearing a different uniform. It’s difficult to stomach seeing Thurman Thomas with the Dolphins or Roger Clemens with the Yankees or, most recently, Kevin Durant with the Warriors.
Loyalty? It’s a myth. Pro sports are cold and unsentimental. Athletes rarely are loyal to teams because so few teams are loyal to players. Players think nothing of leaving teams that treated them well because teams think nothing of severing ties with players who performed well for them.
Thunder fans should keep that in mind when taking out their frustrations on Durant in the coming years.
It’s not personal, as they say, it’s just business.