NBA

Loyalty is dead? Wake up – it’s been dead for a while.

5-3

Its all about the money.

The buzz after former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas signed for Chelsea FC, is that loyalty is dead.  Plot twist: Loyalty in professional sports is dead, and it’s been dead for a while – wake up and smell the rotting corpse everyone.

Luis Figo proved that, when he ditched Barcelona for swanky new digs at Real Madrid, fans reacted furiously, even throwing a pig head at him.

And it’s not just the beautiful game, loyalty is dead across the sporting globe.

In the NBA? There are 18 active players who have played their whole careers with one franchise – seven who were drafted by other teams.

'The Decision' Didn't go over well in Cleveland

‘The Decision’ Didn’t go over well in Cleveland

Let’s not forget about the most famous ‘Decision’ and Lebron ‘taking his talents to South Beach.’ That got a few people upset, eh?

How about the NHL where free-agency has ruined any sense of loyalty – where captains like Jerome Iginla or Daniel Alfreddson ditch their respective clubs to chase personal glory.

Heck Ilya Kovalchuk shocked the professional hockey world, ditching a $77 million dollar contract in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils for an even bigger contract in the KHL .

In baseball, just 8 active players have played more than 10 years with a single team – topped by New York Yankee Derek Jeter.

Gone are the days of Joe DiMaggio, Dan Marino, Steve Yzerman, Ryan Giggs and the Paolo Maldini’s – Legends who stuck with their teams through thick and thin. Now players chase personal glory, crave their big pay day.

And can you blame pro athletes? I can’t.

It’s a business and everyone is trying to get their payday or grab another trophy, personal glory.

Can you honestly tell me, if a rival company came to you and offered you more money, more guaranteed years that you wouldn’t consider it? That you wouldn’t jump at the chance to make more money?

Some might say no, but most would be out the door without a guilty second.

And that is the hypocrisy of where we place athletes and the false values we impose on them – it’s a business, whether we like it or not, and

Assou-Ekotto: Plays for the money, not the game.

Assou-Ekotto: Plays for the money, not the game.

business is about making money.

It’s refreshing to see comments from an athlete like Tottenham Hotspur player Assou-Ekotto, who infamously stated, “I play for the money. Football’s not my passion.”

“All people, everyone, when they go to a job, it’s for the money. So I don’t understand why, when I said I play for the money, people were shocked. Oh, he’s a mercenary. Every player is like that.”

He was lambasted by media, ripped up by fans – but why? Because we hold this idealistic mentality that players should be blindly loyal, play for the ‘love of the game’ and wear their hearts on their sleeves?

Blind loyalty a hopelessly romantic notion, sounds lovely, but it’s just not true anymore in modern sports.

So while Arsenal fans burn Fabregas shirts in the streets and Cleveland fans still reel about ‘The Decision’ – wake up and realize, Loyalty is dead and it’s not coming back.

And as Puff Daddy so eloquently said – it’s all about the Benjamins.

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Summer Sport Blues

The summer months are boring me to death.

The NBA and NHL have both wrapped up their 2010/2011 season’s and the NFL continues their negotiations to have a season in the fall.

The Bruins and Mavericks are champions, the rest focusing on next season and putting the disappointments behind them. Sure, we have Baseball and both the NHL and NBA just conducted their annual entry drafts, but the summer months can be cruel to a sport fan in Canada.

Vettel and Red Bull are the new dominant force in Formula One racing.e

We spend these Summer months following rumours and speculation, hoping that real news will pop up and help us out. Who will your team sign, will there be wholesale changes or will your team implode in a few hours a la Philadelphia Flyers last week.

There is however a there is a perfect solution, if you know where to look. If you are willing to spread your interest, open up to international sport, well, there is a smorgasbord of sport to watch and enjoy.

Wimbledon is treating the tennis world to another exciting tournament, both Serena and Venus William’s were sent packing, while the men’s side has top end talent left to battle it out in the quarter finals.

In soccer, the Women’s World Cup has started with a bang in Germany and over 700,000 tickets have been sold. Germany and the USA are the biggest draws, but England and Canada have opened their tournament with strong showings despite not picking up a win in their first matches.

The world of Cricket continues year round and fans have been treated to an exciting Test series between England and Sri Lanka, while the West Indies and India are also battling it out in their own test match series.

Not to mention the excitement of Formula One, a season dominated by Redbull and their battle with second place McLaren and the rivalry of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

It’s your choice.

Sit around and be bored with the under performing Jays or the dysfunctional Toronto FC or sitting around waiting for the TSN crew to break the latest trade or signing.

Or.

Take a chance on a new sport, you may just get hooked.

Henry is a contributor to Sportstream.ca and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU every Tuesday Morning at 11. You can follow him on twitter at HenryWhitfield, where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads games

This Week In Sports (Jul 16th)

This week is the launch of our new segment, This Week In Sports, where we will recap what we judge to be the best, most interesting and newsworthy stories of the past week in the wide-world of Sports.

Whether it’s Baseball, Football, Darts, Cricket, Water Polo or bridge, if it’s newsworthy we’ll throw it your way. If you have suggestions or idea’s, or want to throw a newstory our way fire it to henry.whitfield@gmail.com or leave it in the comment section.

This Week In Sports (Jul 16th Ed)

  • In baseball the Year Of The Pitcher continued into the All-Star break, with a close 3-1 win by the National League over the American League. The stellar pitching also continued in the Home Run Derby, where Corey Hart’s pitcher managed to help him go homerunless in the second round.

 

  • Perenial choke-artist Evgeni Nabokov has flown the coop and run back to Europe with his tail between his legs, the San Jose Sharks had informed the goaltender that his services were no longer needed to help them with their string of playoff mishaps; They  already resigned Marleau to fill that role.

 

  • In the NBA, the Miami Heat performed a coup in bringing Toronto favorite Chris Bosh and reigning NBA MVP LeBron James to their city, whilealso  re-signing their own fan favorite Dwaye Wade. This prompted the New York Knicks to temporarily lose their mind and sign Amare Stoudemire for a contract that could be worth $100mil over five years.

 

  • Roy Hodgson, former Fulham saviour and the new Liverpool manager, has come out and informed the public that neither Steven Gerrard or Fernando Torres will be leaving the club anytime soon. However, the manger seemed concerned that he was unable to locate and contact Argentine Javier Mascherano; this isn’t really news, as the midfielder was no where to be found for much of the World Cup and the 2009/2010  season.

 

  • In sad news for the world of baseball, the owner of the New York Yankees has died. George Steinbrenner, who was made a part of pop-culture through Seinfeld, passed away on the morning of the All-Star game after what was described as a massive heart attack.

 

  • Lastly, in a plug of shameless self promotion, Sports With Henry broke an exciting news story on the status of highly-touted European draft pick Martin Frk and how contract negotiations are going with the Halifax Mooseheads, Allan Walsh says Have faith.

The Heat is On…

The Heat Is On... But Can They Deliver?

For a moment let’s take a break from World Cup talk and delve into the hype of NBA Free Agency. I’m a fan of Basketball, but not a super, die-hard, NBA-is-life kind of guy, so here are my thoughts from a sports fan in general.

As of tonight Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh are all now members of the Miami Heat; Wade re-signing, while both Bosh and James split from the teams that drafted them to chase dreams of championships in Florida.

It’s crazy to think that people are already crowning the Heat NBA Champions in 2011 and frankly, it’s pretty disrespectful to the other 29 teams in the league. Have we already forgotten the LA Lakers and the Boston Celtic? How about a young talented Oklahoma Thunder? There’s a reason we play a full season and anything can happen in a season where you’re named champions before even the first tip off.

With many sports pundits, making a lot more money than I am, saying that the Heat are easy champions in 2011, it makes me wonder why they’re even being paid to be journalists?

How can we forget that the New York Yankees spend more money each year on their roster than any other MLB team, but aren’t guaranteed a championship? How about Real Madrid spending millions and millions on players, but can’t win the European Champions League?

Let’s be clear here, yes the Miami Heat just got a lot better but let’s see how the team handles their first losing streak or injury problems, how the players there handle the new found spotlight that will be much brighter than the Miami Sun. The Heat will be contenders and favourites, but only time will tell if these three can gel and follow up all the hype with a new NBA dynasty.

Here’s a quick highlight of their combined stats:

–          Scored 37,493 points in their NBA Careers

–          Combined for 40.6 PPG when they led the USA to their recent Gold Medal in the Olympics

–          Wade is 28, Bosh 26 and James is just 25, that leaves the three lot’s of time for championships

–          The three combine for 148 playoff games, but just one NBA Championship Ring

This could very well be a moment in time that fans of basketball look back at and tell their kids and grandchildren where they were the day LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade created a dynasty.

On paper this looks like a destined dynasty, but only time will tell how this decision will pan out.