Professional sports can be a tough place if you’re looking for any kind of lessons from which your kids can learn. These days, high-profile, me-first prima donnas dominate the headlines for all the wrong reasons. NBA ballers like Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James are prime examples. Each essentially held their teams hostage while they sat back and patiently decided which team it was they’d play for next.
Too often, it’s the players who call the shots. And just a little while ago, that’s what seemed to be happening in Utah. Thankfully, however, that wasn’t the case. For once, a player who acted like a child actually got treated like one. And I hope that kids everywhere took note of it. If not, as parents, we need to make sure that we point it out to them.
Just last month, you’d be hard pressed to find any team in sports more stable than the Utah Jazz. Coach Jerry Sloan was the longest tenured head coach of any of the professional sporting leagues by a country mile with 23 seasons on the bench. But that tenure came to an unexpected and abrupt end when he resigned out of nowhere on February 10.
Many blamed Deron Williams for the coach stepping down. Some even thought that the star player, who will become a free agent after next season, went to management with an ultimatum — get rid of the coach, or lose me when I become a free agent.
It was hard not to think that, given Williams and Sloan’s contemptuous relationship. Not to mention the fact that Williams had often been publicly critical of both the coach and his team’s style of play.
It seemed like little more than another case of the new-school attitude that’s so prevalent in today’s sports — the one where entitled players make decisions that impact everyone else, including, even, class acts like Jerry Sloan. But when Williams was traded to the Nets earlier today, the Utah Jazz sent everyone a message. According to USA Today:
However, Williams didn’t remain a Utah Jazz for long [after Sloan's departure], a sign that the organization was not happy with Williams, who also had been publicly critical of the Jazz’s play and Sloan’s style.
Finally! A player acts like a child and gets treated like one. You don’t like it here, Deron? Fantastic. Hit the road, Bubba. You already cost us our Hall-of-Fame coach, anyway.
Maybe the tide is turning. Maybe more organizations will refuse to be held hostage by over-priced divas, even if said divas do have a fantastic assist-to-turnover ratio. Maybe players who keep acting like children will eventually get treated like one.
Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part. Regardless, I hope that parents everywhere point to the Deron Williams trade and explain to their kids that this is what happens when you don’t respectfully fall in line. At least in the real world, it is.
You get cut.
Because all the other high-profile sports stories are probably giving them the wrong idea.