| March 18, 2018

Opinion: Changing Times

August 28, 2017

The Kevin Durant move to the Golden State Warriors sent shock waves around the world, at least the world of sports fanatics.

The term “super team” jumped into many commentaries and conversations amongst fans. The NBA is now in the middle of what feels like a super team era, with big names moving around just hoping to take a shot at what currently looks like an invincible Warriors team.

Yet, right now the focus does not seem to be on a super team that is building but rather one that seems to be falling apart.

Early this summer reports were released of the Kyrie Irving requesting to be traded in an attempt to break out of the immense shadow cast by teammate LeBron James. No one can outshine the King, a fact Cleveland guard knew all too well.

The norm in the NBA right now is players moving to form super teams, yet Irving willingly turned his back on a team that took down the team many others are building up to break. Granted, it was a pre-Kevin Durant Warriors team but it was an impressive win nonetheless.

Cleveland fans are hurting, but maybe Irving’s logic behind wanting to leave a championship winning team shows something new in the NBA. The reason Irving has given for wanting to leave is escaping out from under James and being the focal point as opposed to simply a sidekick. While everyone else is teaming up to build up, he is branching out and looking to build up on his own as Kyrie Irving, not as LeBron’s teammate.

Maybe the NBA needs more of this, more players wanting to strengthen on their own without caving to the pressure of the super team. The Portland Trailblazers’ Damian Lillard has been preaching this for years, growing a team from within and remaining loyal until his team is strong enough to take the grand prize in the form of a championship.

The Kyrie Irving move comes from locker room politics and changing dynamics around the NBA. But maybe, just maybe, he could be the start of a new era in professional basketball, an era where players boast ideas of loyalty as opposed to solely greed for a personal title.

Meredith Spelbring can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu

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