GOTW notes: for this column, all hyperbole will be italicized. With that said, thank you for reading the best sports web log on the planet!
Many people dream of living in one of the big American cities across the nation (LA, Chicago, New York, etc.) Small town kids think of the opportunities that are abound in these stunning metropolises that will bring them fame, fortune, and anything their hearts desire. Well what happens when you can get fame, fortune, and everything your heart desires in a smaller city or town? There’s no big incentive to move if the whole reason for moving has already been supplied.
In this world of NBA free agency the idea of the big market is one that haunts franchises in smaller NBA towns. You hear the buzz out there with people saying players “want to play in LA” or “want to be in a big market” but really how true is that? No one thought Dwight Howard would give up the bright lights of LA for less attractive Houston, but he did. The narrative that exists is that players want to win, but above all else they want to win in a big city; so a player is willing to sacrifice money, winning, and their role on the court in order to reach the ultimate goal of winning in a big market. Yeah, that makes perfect sense, that’s why Lebron was heads over heels for the Lakers. What a joke! Above all things players want an environment that is conducive to winning, and players who put other things higher on their priorities aren’t winning anything anyway.
Some may argue, “Well Kevin Love wants out of small market Minnesota, he wants the big city.” True Kevin Love wants out of Minnesota, but not because Minnesota is a small market or frozen over for half the year, it’s because he doesn’t want to become Kevin Garnet 2.0. Carrying a devoid of talent T-Wolves squad through the regular season every year only to get bounced in the playoffs short of the Finals1 . If Minnesota actually drafted adequately and had the right pieces around Love that gave him a chance to compete, you wouldn’t hear anything about him wanting to test the waters. Sure Miami has the atmosphere and women that Minnesota can’t produce, but you would never give up a great career situation that you love for a few girls in bikinis2
Plus you don’t leave a place where you can make instant slurpees.
With the Internet and technology, you can be a star in Oklahoma City just like you can be a star in Manhattan. In this global economy, you’ll still get endorsements, be on TV, kiss babies the whole 9 from anywhere as long as you have the star power. Would Kevin Durant be even bigger if he was in NY instead of Oklahoma? Of course he would, but is that extra bit of notoriety really what it’s all about? Of course not, championship-winning players don’t care about that extra bit of fame if they have a good situation where they are. Lebron had no problem with the market size of Cleveland, just that most of the time his second best player usually wouldn’t have started on many teams in the Western Conference. Do you see superstar Aaron Rodgers on the first ticket out of the stunning mega-city that is Green Bay? You don’t because he has a solid organization and structure backing him.
The one player that stands out who shunned a good situation in order to get to a bigger stage was Melo, and well Melo isn’t ever going to be the best player on a championship-winning team, so it makes sense that he would be into all of those other things. Just watch in 2016 when everyone’s crossing their fingers and praying for Durant, remember OKC is good and if Sam Presti continues to draft great talent like he has in the past, number 35 isn’t going anywhere.