Parting ways with a good thing is hard. Anyone who’s been in a relationship and has dealt with a break up that they didn’t want to see happen knows this feeling. Missing a good thing is hard. I get it! But the actions from a few of these NBA organizations are starting to look like those of a petty ex.
It first started with the Cleveland Cavaliers after LeBron James took his talents to South Beach. Cavaliers owner, Dan Gilbert let his emotions do the talking as he posted an open letter to the Cleveland Cavaliers website. An open letter that uttered the words of ‘betrayal’, ‘cowardly’, and ‘selfishness’ all aimed at the king himself.
This open letter took the NBA world by shock especially when you take into account everything that James did for the organization and Cleveland itself. It was unnecessary and disrespect at it’s finest. After the backlash that resulted from this heinous act, I didn’t think we would ever see a team stoop this low again.
While we haven’t seen a team get as low as Gilbert, organizations of the NBA have found another way to be petty. Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City Thunder for Golden State and it caused a huge uproar. Chesapeake Energy Arena was filled with cupcake paraphernalia all aimed at Durant. The hurt and pain were written all over their cupcake t-shirts. But it didn’t stop there. The OKC organization signed PJ Dozier and decided to give him number 35.
I understand Durant left and never brought the Thunder a championship but I think to give his number to someone else was quite disrespectful. For all that he did for that organization and the town of Oklahoma, a future jersey retirement was well deserved. We’ve seen guys who’ve done less get their numbers retired by other teams. Not to honor the legacy that he left behind in OKC might be something that they regret in the future.
Cleveland saw themselves in the same boat yet again. Kyrie Irving requested out of Cleveland after losing to Golden State in the Finals and he was then traded to the Boston Celtics. After the letter in 2010 following James’s departure, we knew some type of pettiness was on the way. We didn’t quite get a letter this time but the Cavaliers pulled a card out of the Thunder’s deck.
With the eighth pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Collin Sexton. A solid pick for the Cavaliers but this is where things get interesting. The jersey number given to Sexton was number two. The jersey previously worn by Irving himself. Irving had a very solid tenure with Cleveland during his six years there, four in which he made the All-Star team. His last year was his best mainly due to his performance in the NBA Finals. He hit the biggest shot of his career and Cleveland’s history which resulted in an NBA championship. With that being said, there’s no reason why anyone should be wearing number two in a Cavaliers jersey ever again. His legacy there is stamped just off that shot alone and there should be a jersey in the rafters with his name and number on it.
A jersey retirement might seem minuscule and overrated to some but it’s a huge accomplishment and a way for a team to show their appreciation. What these two guys did for those respective organizations is well documented. To not give them that moment is quite disrespectful. Some may say, well they can still retire their jerseys in the future once the dust is settled but once another player throws on that jersey, it takes away from the moment. I understand that fans and organizations are upset when guys of that magnitude leave their teams but this level of pettiness and disrespect has to stop.