Dirk Nowitzki has played a 19 seasons as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. A not insignificant portion of that has come because Nowitzki and has given the team discounts on his salary in order to continue to make the Mavs a contender.
However, his example is an oddity among NBA players. In fact, it has never been the rule of players to give a home team discount. The NBA CBA has been specifically modeled so that home teams can in fact pay their top players more to be loyal.
But in a recent radio interview, Nowitzki said that he believes the modern NBA is more about winning and money then loyalty.
I think I can sort of see where Nowitzki was trying to go with this one. Mostly, I think Dirk was trying to convey is that the modern NBA has so much money hanging around with the new salary cap that the idea of sticking around for any sentimental value — or “loyalty” — has been completely squashed by the ridiculous salary figures that even role players now demand.
I’m not sure loyalty has ever been a huge factor for players in comparison to money or even the ability to win. Hell, free agency is still a relatively new concept to the sport. Tom Chambers was the first unrestricted free agent in NBA history and that was in 1988. Before that, players had significantly less ability to choose where they played. Loyalty was bound upon you.
Obviously, the league has always been about both money and winning. That has never changed and never will.