Few NBA players have ever meant more to their organization and city than Dirk Nowitzki does to the Dallas Mavericks.
He is one of the 25 greatest players in NBA history, he has won a league MVP, NBA Finals MVP and of course lead the Mavericks to their only title in 2011.
Dirk will become only the 2nd player in NBA history this season to play 20 seasons with one team which is a pretty incredible and mind-boggling accomplishment, especially in today’s world of professional sports.
In order to make that a reality, Dirk has had to take some hometown discounts and be patient with his team as they have gone through numerous makeovers around him, something most elite players don’t have the desire or motivation to do with so much money and opportunity around the league to team up with one another to win titles.
Dirk thinks loyalty doesn’t exist in the modern NBA as much as it did in the past, here is what he said in a Sirius XM interview:
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) September 13, 2017
Dirk has a point, you don’t see players playing a decade for the same team often anymore, but that loyalty goes both ways and teams are just as likely to cut bait with a player if having him for whatever reason no longer vibes with their direction as a franchise.
It is also important to note that free agency didn’t exist until 1988, so any great before that era had zero opportunity to leave town by choice and essentially no leverage to demand a trade.
Loyalty is definitely lower than it was even a decade ago as players collude and use their leverage to team up with one another for a better chance to win. Players have always been more concerned with winning and maximizing their profit while in the NBA, and professional sports are a mercenary profession by nature, so loyalty will never be high on the list.
Dirk is a rare breed in every sense of the word and the Mavericks are the rare franchise that will do whatever it takes to take care of him and build their team around him as long as he is willing and able to play.