Nowadays, it looks like loyalty is undervalued in the NBA, with most players thinking about leaving their first franchises in the association to team up with other stars and chase a ring. It happened in the past but since the 2010s, it's happening a lot more in the league.
While some fans have shown respect for the players who stick around with their teams even though they are overcome by other squads, some media members are pushing the narratives that some stars need to join others to finally get that championship. The most famous cases of that are Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, who are seen as great competitors but are still missing something to lead their squads to the promised land.
ESPN's Jalen Rose recently reacted to all the comments suggesting these small-market players should join bigger franchises to win a title, asking people to stop pushing that narrative. Not everybody wants to go play in Los Angeles or New York. Some want to stay in their places and try to win with the tools they have at the moment. Rose went after the people trying to change that, ranting about being a great player does more than being in a large market.
"I'm sick of this era of people tryna dumb down the accomplishments of these great players into ring-counting! So now what we're gonna do? What we gonna do is in a couple of years look up and say 'well, Ja should leave Memphis' or 'Luka should leave Dallas' or 'Zion should leave New Orleans.' No, I like that the Greek Freak stayed with the Bucks, I like that Dame stayed with the Portland Trail Blazers. Put your anchor down, like those guys have done! It's not stopping you in endorsements! Who gets more commercials than Dame? Does anybody get more commercials than Dame? It ain't because he's in a large market. It's because he's a great player! They'll find you! He went to a small college, they'll find you if you're a great player! Stop media members, trying to get players like Bradley Beal think that their career is meaningless because the Washington Wizards won't win the championship this league!"
Beal and Lillard have earned a lot of recognition for their loyalty to their teams. They don't have plans of leaving and are trying as hard as they can to take them to the postseason. Even with not-so-good rosters, they have done good things and right now are two of the best players in the league.