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The Negative Side Effects of "Player Empowerment" in the NBA

Ryan Beltran

Posted on January 29, 2021 04:14

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The popularity of the NBA continues to grow, and a big reason is the allure of the biggest superstars. However, fans and even other players wonder if their superstar teammates have too much influence over important decisions made within the league.

The NBA has grown so much ever since the early days of the league and continues to grow each year. Not just in America, but the league and game of basketball has become a global influence stretching across Asia, South America, and Europe. The league has also been at the forefront of being a voice for social endeavors and issues across the world, expanding its impact beyond the court. 

Along with its focus as an ambassador for progressive issues in America and the world, the league has allowed its players a growing control over within itself, and even their own respective teams' decision-making plans.

While I love the freedoms the NBA has granted its players in this era, and the ambition the league continues to look to achieve, the growth of this "player empowerment" culture has a negative side, and can at times take away from the values the league wants to promote on and off the court.

Over the years, the league has focused its marketing on the individual stars to appeal to the fans. From the top superstars like Lebron James and Kevin Durant, to the younger rising stars like Zion Williamson and Luka Dončić, the exciting, individualistic talent of various ages, styles of play, backgrounds, etc., has played a big part in helping the league's popularity grow over the years.

Like I stated earlier, due to the impact these stars have had on the league, this has created the growing player-power-culture that we see today, where players having more say within the league's inner circles. It's good that players have been granted these benefits, being paid millions for their contributions and having more individual freedoms to make decisions for themselves and for their teams. But at the same time, this authority they hold can also lead to conflicts between owners, general managers, and NBA officials. 

For example, the growth of player control in recent years has resulted in many burned bridges among the top stars, like the countless instances of Lebron James dramatically leaving his team's free agency. Many players have also demanded trades from their respective teams in disruptive manners, which has sparked displeasure among basketball and sports fans alike.   

A lot of this behavior can arguably be perceived as self-centered, not only to the fans, but also the teammates of these stars, who might feel disheartened about the way certain players get away with whatever they want, leading to uncomfortable locker room situations and animosity between teammates.

Simply put, it feels like the NBA has become too focused on satisfying its star players, and not focused enough on improving the game and trying to promote the various other aspects of basketball that make it so popular in the first place. 

Ryan Beltran

Posted on January 29, 2021 04:14

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