NBA Breakups

This past week, one of the weirdest NBA story lines came to a conclusion with the trade of two All-Star players. One of my favorite players, Kawhi Leonard, was traded for DeMar DeRozen. Kawhi only played 9 games this year due to injury. However, there were rumors of his discontent while he was on his former team, the San Antonio Spurs. After the season, he demanded a trade. He didn’t want to be in San Antonio anymore and preferred to play in his home state of California.

When the trade finally happened, the reporters with ESPN, The Ringer, Bleach Report, and all the various blogs were ablaze with their “hot” takes. They talked about which team won the trade, how the players would fit into their new teams, and whether the teams got better. Some writers noted how weird this entire NBA season was for the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard. They made the comparison to a bad breakup. Kawhi didn’t want to be there but the Spurs didn’t want to just let him go. And who could blame them? How do you just let a top 3 talent walk away for nothing? But once they knew the relationship couldn’t be reconciled, the Spurs accepted their fate. They looked for a way to get something in return for their best player.

If the analogy to this whole situation is a breakup, then I care more about how the people in the relationship were dealing with it over how it affected their careers. So this week, I’m sharing articles with reactions from the coaches and fans of the Spurs.

What I’ve Read:

Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs coach, says with Kawhi Leonard traded it’s ‘time to move on’ | ESPN

Coach Popovich’s comments on the situation feel like they were pulled straight out of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. They ooze with the tenets of Stoicism, particularly the beliefs of control and perception. One of the main thoughts in Stoic philosophy is that we should only focus on what we can control and let go of the rest. Popovich can’t change the past, so he’s choosing to move on and focus on integrating the new players on his team. He also practices perspective by viewing basketball as a child’s game and acknowledging that there are much bigger issues in the world. His reactions to this unfortunate situation provides an example on how to act like a person with good character.

Farewell, Kawhi: A Spurs Fan Reflects on a Star’s Inevitable Departure | The Ringer

Shea Serrano has quickly become one of my favorite writers. I admire his ability to pull in references from pop culture and apply it seamlessly to basketball. His use of The Beach and how it related to his feelings about Kawhi’s departure was a fantastic analogy. It gave me the inspiration to use the same event to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned. And the lesson from this article is that there’s relief in doing what needs to be done. So instead of “hanging around and pissing people off”, it’s better to just do the action.

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