Following a NBA player instead of following a team

It’s a little strange to me but I have spoken to a few NBA fans about this and they find it normal. I’m struggling to understand how NBA fans can follow a NBA player instead of a team. It seems as a NBA player moves from team to team, so do the fans. A prime example of this is Lebron James fans. Lebron leaves Cleveland and all of a sudden these fans become Heat fans.

Basketball is a team sport

Despite every team having at least one superstar, basketball is a team sport. As such, shouldn’t the fans support the team instead of the individual player?

What I love about college basketball is the fact that all the students get behind their team. I’d even say this about high school basketball in the US. You support the school you go to! The team!

The way I see it is if you were a Chicago Bulls fan in the 90’s should you not be a Bulls fan now?

The NBA is an international sport and I understand it is hard for someone across the globe to support a city. After all there isn’t much patriotism for the Bulls if you are a teenager living in Sydney. It is much easier to be a Warriors or Cavs fan.

Lebron leaving Cleveland

What a big fiasco when Lebron decided to leave Cleveland. It was a disgrace from all angles. Lebron having a massive media interview to “take my talents to south beach” which sparked Cleveland fans to burn his jerseys not to mention the Cavs owner reacting in the newspapers. Dan Gilbert described what Lebron did as “disloyal” and “cowardly”. The full statement released by Dan Gilbert can be seen here.

Even with all of this Lebron fans stopped supporting Cleveland and decided to support Miami. Yes there are die hard Cavs fans that decided to stay Cavs fans but I found they are just as bad as the fans that followed Lebron to Miami.

Think about it; these were fans that hated Lebron, burnt his jersey with a magnitude of emotional outpouring on social media never seen before in sports history. Few years later, welcoming Lebron back and carrying on like he never left. Personally if I was a Cavs fan and Lebron wanted to come back I’d be against it because you’ll never know when he is ready to jump ship again.

Soccer fans and true loyalty

NBA fans can learn a lot from soccer fans. The way they cheer, the passion for their team and loyalty is something I don’t see in any other sport. Soccer fans around Europe are fanatics and if they support the soccer club they will support the same basketball club too.

In Europe the big clubs like Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and so on have various sport that sit under the club. For example, take Real Madrid. They have a soccer team, basketball team and a handball team. Most Real Madrid fans will support the club in various other sports too.

What I particularly like about soccer supporters is their loyalty to the club. They will support the club no matter the players that come in and out. Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world and when he left Manchester United the Man U fans stayed Man U fans. Unlike the fans that followed the Cavs before Lebron’s exited.

My friend the Lebron fan

I have a friend that is a massive Lebron fan but doesn’t understand what loyalty for a team is. I have on multiple occasions tried to explain to him why jumping from team to team is not right. You support a team and that is that! His response is “I’m a Lebron fan”.

You can be a Lebron fan, that’s fine, he is after all one of the best players to play the game. But basketball isn’t an individual sport, it is a team game and fans support teams. Not individual players. This is what the definition of a bandwagon supporter is.

My personal opinion on this matter is quite extreme and I can’t convey what I feel without bagging Lebron fans. I really don’t like the fact that people follow individual basketball players. It is not basketball! As a basketball purist I believe in supporting one team and sticking to it. I hope one day that NBA fans will be as passionate as college basketball fans and appreciate the team rather than an individual NBA player.

What are your thoughts? Am I being too extreme?

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