Major competitive sports are a business. There is no secret about it, as everybody is always looking to get a better contract, a better team or even an easier competition just to have a free ride to the Finals.
The NBA is not exempted of these practices, not even now when we’re able to see this big amount of changes happening in the league right now.
Nonetheless, there are certain players that remain faithful to their teams, whether they are competitive or not. We have seen several cases like these over the past years, but now with the increasing of superb teams, it is more unlikely to have a long run with only a team.
Considering how often players are choosing better destinations or paychecks instead of staying put on the spots they got to the league, we believe that those guys that stay loyal have to be honored. Therefore, here is a list of some of the most loyal players in NBA history in recent years.
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green
Curry, Thompson, and Green are the heart of the Golden State Warriors. Yes, they have Kevin Durant in their ranks, but there is no doubt that the main responsible for the Warriors’ success over the past years are these three. Curry landed in 2009 to begin the building process of the basketball machine we are able to see today, while Thompson and Green did the same in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
All of them have stayed on the team and unless something strange happens, they are very likely to end their careers playing at the bay. They have given this squad plenty of joy by recording some of the best performances the Association has ever seen. They created something remarkable in Oakland and seeing his samples of loyalty, it is very unlikely to see any of them playing in another team.
Tony Parker landed in San Antonio back in 2001, quickly becoming one of the best players in Spurs’ history. Over the years he has only displayed all the goods of his game, and although he has missed some games due to injuries, Tony has managed to always bring the best of him to the court.
Even if right now he is not the maximum figure of the team –as many people thought after Tim Duncan’s departure-, Parker has changed his game in order to help the team to win instead of racking up big numbers for his stats. This is another player that will end his career playing for a single team.
San Antonio seems like the best place to have a long run –if you know how to adapt to coach Popovich style of playing- and Manu Ginobili is another proof of that. The Argentinian shooting guard arrived in the NBA in 2002 after spending four seasons in Italy, where he made himself a known name.
Albeit his beginnings at the league weren’t the most desired, Manu knew how to get over that situation and is one of the best and trustworthy players in the entire association. Manu never had a problem with starting every game on the bench; in fact, it has only improved Manu’s game, winning several prizes through his career and putting his name on the list of the best foreign players that took part in this league with his outstanding performances.
Coming from a not so known program in college basketball to another one in the big leagues, Damian Lillard has demonstrated throughout his whole career that this doesn’t bother him, as he has shown all the things he can make to reach his goals and help his team. Since was drafted by his first and only team in the NBA in 2012, the Portland Trail Blazers he instantly created of the best duo in the association alongside LaMarcus Aldridge.
Even though LaMarcus is no longer part of the team, Damian kept loyal to his squad and now he has found another wingman in C.J. McCollum. He has recently stated that won’t be joining another team in order to chase the ring, proving that he is committed to Portland and his cause. However, this might end up with the worst outcome for him, as his team isn’t precisely the most attractive one for superstars, but who knows, OKC has shown that anything can happen in NBA.
The second one of the Gasol brothers started his career in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies; the team where he is still playing today. Although Marc has been chased by several teams over the years, he decided to maintain with Memphis where he is one of the best players and at this moment, one of the players expected to be the leader of the squad.
Marc has improved his game since his arrival in the league, and although his team isn’t going through its best moment, he remains loyal. This season he will be the chance to demonstrate he can lead the Grizzlies after Zach Randolph’s departure, in which will be one of the hardest campaigns for Marc.
Luckily for Gasol, he won’t be alone this season, as Memphis –maybe like San Antonio- will have one of the best and most underrated players in their ranks, Mike Conley. Conley is one of those players that make you believe that loyalty is still possible in competitive sports, even if your team is not exactly the best one
Arriving at the league in 2007, the long-serving point guard has proved he is capable of doing everything to help his team. Mike even had to change his style of playing and adapt it to Memphis’, he has led the team in their most successful playoff runs in recent years and doesn’t seem like he is going to abandon his teammates anytime soon. Conley will try to get Memphis back to the headlines this season in another proof of his commitment to the team.
If Mike Conley was the beginning, Kemba Walker is the continuation. The 27-year-old point guard landed in one of the worst teams in the league in 2011 and even if they have shown a significant improvement, Charlotte is anything but a contender team. However, Kemba has remained staunch with his team, showing his will to make the Hornets a competitive team.
Walker has never had a superb team during his first years with Charlotte, teaming up with the suffocating defender Nicolas Batum for several years, receiving and giving out plenty of players every year. Now he will have the support of Dwight Howard and things can look a little bit better for his team. Meanwhile, the truth is that Kemba Walker is keeping loyal to his squad.
Russ is one of those cases in which loyalty pays off. He has remained faithful to his Thunder and now OKC finally gave back to him. Arriving in the team in 2008, Westbrook quickly stated he was set to have a good NBA career. Playing alongside his former teammate, Kevin Durant, Westbrook took the team to the NBA finals, where they lost to Miami back in 2012.
After several seasons trying to win the ring, being left by Durant and many more failures, Russell has shown he will keep his talents in Oklahoma City. Now he will be joined by Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, demonstrating that loyalty indeed pays off. He took the reins of his team last season and did a marvelous job; this one they can have a better run if they know how to handle all the egos on the team.
Dirk is one of the most beloved players, whether you like the Mavs or not. Dirk is the perfect demonstration of loyalty, faithful and love for your team. Nowitzki arrived at the league nearly 20 years ago, when he was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks, his first and only team.
Dirk took the Mavs to win the Larry O’Brien in 2011 against the superb favorite, Miami Heat, showing proofs of all the things he was capable of doing in order to take his team to the promise land. Playing with fever, a splinted finger, and many more things, he delighted everybody not only in NBA but in other major competitive sports leagues. He has taken pay cuts in order to help his team and has remained loyal to it. Dirk Nowitzki is a living legend from any point of view.
DeAndre Jordan has been one of the most dominant players in the NBA in recent years. He was a big part of Clippers' successes in recent seasons alongside Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, improving his game every season he has spent in the league.
He was selected as the 35th pick in 2008 by the Los Angeles Clippers, staying with the team since then. He was pursued by many squads as some point of his career, and his infamous episode with the Dallas Mavericks was the ultimate proof of his fidelity with the Clippers. Even though Clippers had to work to get him, Jordan never hesitated about his decision to stay in Los Angeles.
The New Orleans Pelicans have a gem in Anthony Davis, as the former Kentucky Wildcats power forward has pledged his commitment to New Orleans. Anthony landed in the Pelicans in 2012, instantly making an impact on the team. However, the front office never was able to build a competitive team around him.
Nevertheless, the Pelicans somehow found a way to put together two of the most dominant intern players in the league with Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. Although New Orleans is not the most attractive place to play for several players, Davis has stated in many opportunities his intentions to stay in the team and taking it to the promise land.
DeRozan is one of the most talented players in the league at this moment, as the Compton native always finds a way to enchant basketball fans every night. He has made a good association with Kyle Lowry in Toronto, taking the team to various appearances in playoffs in recent years.
Although they’ve never made it to the finals, DeRozan remains loyal to his team, as he wants to chase the ring with the Raptors and not going elsewhere to do it. He landed in the league in 2009, where he didn’t show all his potential, but Raptors kept the faith on him and he has certainly paid off. DeMar doesn’t seem to be playing in another squad anytime soon; he wants to achieve big things with the Toronto Raptors.
John Wall, Bradley Beal
This is one of the best duos in the NBA currently, as Wall and Beal have taken the Washington Wizards to a whole new level. They took the team to Eastern Conference semifinals last season, but they fell short against the Boston Celtics.
Landing in 2010 and 2012, respectively, both Wall and Beal have demonstrated their desire to remain with the Wizards and lead the team to achieve meaningful things in the near future. They both are one of the best backcourts in the association; they still have things to improve and most importantly, they want to thrive at Washington.
Haslem, just like Nowitzki has known how to remain extant in this league. He has played in Miami since 2003 after spending one season in French basketball. Haslem played alongside some of the most talented players in NBA history such as LeBron James, Dwayne Wade or Shaquille O’Neal. Although none of these players are part of the team right now, Udonis is.
Haslem has remained with the team for over 13 years now, taking pay cuts and seeing his minutes of playing reduced, he decided to stay with the team no matter what. Haslem has given several times proves of his commitment with Miami, being one of the most loyal players in NBA in recent years. He has racked up some good stats playing with the Heat and now he has only to wait before retiring. He has nothing else to prove.