Is winning everything? (for an athlete)


Lisa Kramer

Lisa Kramer is a contributing contributor at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.

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16 Responses

  1. Avatar Jonathan says:

    I can’t find the story right now, but what I have read is that Lebron is not just looking for money or a winning team, but also an owner(ship group) with whom to be in business. It’s linking the Lebron brand with a competent business man who will help him get the most out of his brand.

    Not sure how true it is, but it does put an interesting spin on things. If it shows a trend, then perhaps losing teams can turn things around by having strong ownership (as a lifelong Seattle Seahawks fan, I can see some merit in this).

    *I should note, I don’t know that this Lebron hypothesis is true, but it seemed plausible and interesting.Report

    • Avatar Lisa Kramer says:

      @Jonathan, Interesting, if true. Still… expansion of the Lebron brand is just sort of a roundabout way to the “more money” argument. I doubt it will comfort the fans in Cleveland if he leaves in order to expand his brand. And, best of luck with the Seahawks.Report

  2. Avatar Mike Farmer says:

    I don’t think “objectivity” is the right word here. Objectivity will take in all the pertinent facts making such a decision. He could subjectively make the decision because he loves the feeling of the potential riches elsewhere, or the lust at the possibility of New York groupies.Report

    • Avatar Lisa Kramer says:

      @Mike Farmer, Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics. I suppose “quantifiable” works as well as “objective.” I just meant that, generally speaking, more money is objectively better than less, and wins are objectively better than losses. But the appreciation of a fan base that is starved for love is not objectively – or quantifiably – superior to playing for another team.Report

      • Avatar Mike Farmer says:

        @Lisa Kramer,
        More money is not necessarily objectively better — it depends on his value system and what he objectively establishes as priorities. If he goes by emotion, it’s a crap shoot regarding making the best decision. I’m sure he has many emotions tugging at him, but in order to make the best decision he needs to use reason to objectively weigh all the options against what’s most important to him. Money is a small part when you’re talking about tens of milions, and hundreds over a career, but he can establish this best through looking at it objectively and reasonably.Report

    • Avatar Jonathan says:

      @Mike Farmer, I would love to know, Mike, if New York groupies are objectively or subjectively better than Cleveland groupies.

      If such a study were to exist, who would do the peer review? Gene Simmons? Magic Johnson?Report

  3. I enjoyed this, Lisa. Hopefully I’ll have time tonight for a complete response, but for now I’ll just say that I fully agree, although I think that the actions of the fans themselves play a significant and often parallel role in all of this.Report

  4. Avatar gregiank says:

    I would agree that is nice to see great players show some loyalty to their hometown or, not it lebron’s situation, a team that gave them a chance when others didn’t. On the other hand i think it is great that great players can escape terrible teams and/or poorly run franchises instead of being stuck there. It does feel good to see players emotionally invested in their teams given how much ( to much) regular citizens invest in their teams.Report

    • Avatar Lisa Kramer says:

      @gregiank, I guess this makes me a bad person, but I think I’m a little bit happy when a player who bolts a losing team for a winning team never finds success with the new team. It’s especially satisfying when the abandoned team improves without them. Sweet justice.Report

      • Avatar Dan Miller says:

        @Lisa Kramer, On the other hand, there’s a countervailing responsibility on the part of ownership too–as a fan of the Redskins under Dan Schneider, bad ownership deserves condemnation just as much as any player.Report

  5. Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

    I can see both sides to this.

    I give a lot of respect to players like John Stockton, who stayed with the Jazz in spite of the fact that he probably could have made twice as much as he was in Utah if he had gone to another team. As a Laker fan, I abhorred having Karl Malone on my team.

    On the other hand, there are contemptible owners/managers/coaches in all sports, and you could not pay me enough (or show me enough fan appreciation) to work for some organizations and/or play for some managers/coaches. Clippers fans are some of the most dedicated fans in the basketball world, but their organization is terrible.

    I would never blame anyone for leaving a bad org. Or even an arguably decent organization if they didn’t fit in; if you’re asked to play a style of game that you’re not comfortable with because the star player likes it, or the coach prefers it, you’re well within your druthers to pack up your bags and go elsewhere.

    I do agree that people probably don’t consider the fans enough, but the fans aren’t everything.Report

  6. Avatar Trumwill says:

    Enjoyed the post. I would add one other factor that makes a difference for me. A great player in baseball can be great even if he is on a team full of losers. You may suffer on RBI’s if you’re a hitter or wins/saves if you’re a pitcher, but you will still have numbers that speak for themselves: strike outs, ERA, home runs, batting average, etc.

    So I am more sympathetic to football and basketball players that want to play for better teams. Football players in particular. It not only allows them to Get The Ring, but it also allows them to play up to their potential. A good offensive line gives you time to pass, for instance. Good defensive tackles spreads the offensive line out so that you can’t be double-teamed. And so on. The same applies to basketball where if you’re the only threat you can be neutralized.

    You can neutralize a baseball hitter through intentional walking, but that’s about it and that’s limited in application.Report

    • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:


      Not to mention the fact that if you’re a quarterback, a good offensive line can guarantee that you can enjoy your retirement 10 years down the line instead of sitting in a wheelchair drooling from brain damage.Report