Paul, NBA Superstars Giving Fans the Cold Shoulder

By: T.J. Zuppe

It has been one of the hottest summers in recent memory in Cleveland, Ohio, but the climate surrounding the National Basketball Association and its players has been rather frigid in the last month.

The 90 degree heat that has baked the country has been cooled down regionally by the cold shoulders of the players that were expected to represent the city, as they constantly speak of loyalty.

NBA Superstars Chris Paul and Lebron James

Do not get us wrong, the loyalty in this off-season this summer has been absolutely incredible. However, the loyalty the players have represented has only been to their fat-cat, egotistical selves.

Free-agents Lebron James and Chris Bosh bolted for South Beach, leaving their former teams, yet making themselves feel better by doing it through a sign-and-trade.

Doggonit, they sure tried to help out their ex-teams, gee willikers.

Give us a freaking break.

Dwyane Wade is no stranger to loyalty, or lack-thereof. His fallout with his ex-wife and relationship with new flame Gabrielle Union, has been highly publicized in the media, and has been nothing short of odd, and tabloid-esque.

Now the latest to turn his back on his current team is all-star point guard Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets. As of the latest reports, Paul has asked to be dealt by the team he has spent his entire 5-year career with, and has submitted a list of new destinations in which he would like to call his new home.

Those teams include the New York Knicks, Orlando Magic or Los Angeles Lakers.

Can someone please explain why the NBA has embraced the ridiculousness of a reality television show?

Clearly it is not hard to see why Paul wants out of New Orleans. They have recently fired a coach that he embraced, the roster is being dismantled around him, and the franchise itself seems to be in complete disarray.

However, Paul has fallen into the latest trap in the NBA, where superstar athletes call the shots, and are above having to follow through on honoring contracts. It seems the best of the best are above the law, and do not have to follow the rules.

Hell, lately they are rewriting new ones.

As if that was not enough to make Paul, and his group of egotistical pals the talk of the town, James felt the need to get his name back in the media once again by sounding off on Paul’s upcoming decision.

“Best of luck to my brother @oneandonlycp3 (Paul’s twitter name),” James wrote on his twitter account. “Do what’s best for you and your family.”

Who is this family he is referring to? It seems that word is being thrown around quite a bit lately.

The only family the NBA fans see in the cities the superstars are running from, is the family of other superstars that were not good enough to carry a team over the hump themselves, so they are conspiring to form supergroups in large markets.

This is clearly what the creators of the league had in mind. As a result, that loyalty we spoke of goes by the wayside, and fans of the game are left to suffer.

If that is truly the case, then the Hornets should write a new law for themselves. One that reads, “We are not trading Chris Paul.” No matter how much kicking and screaming Paul does, the rewarding of childish behavior needs to stop right here and now in the NBA.

Paul can beg to be traded, but the only way to truly stop him from joining the likes of Wade, Bosh and James is to just say no. The Hornets should call Paul’s bluff.

You can either sit the bench, or come back and play. There should be no other option. If Paul would like to sit out the entire season to prove his point, then so be it. However, there is no question that is the right call by the Hornets.

Yes, it may be true that Paul has every right to demand a trade. Yet, it is also true the Hornets have every right to say no.

A player that is under contract should not call the shots, and dictate his terms. If this continues to be the trend, where will this all end? The snowball effect will only continue, until basically every player can pick whatever team he wants to play for at any time.

Yet, not enough good things can be said for players like Cavaliers’ guards Mo Williams and Daniel “Boobie” Gibson, who have made their feelings known of their love and respect they have for playing in the city of Cleveland. Neither player hails from Northeast Ohio, but has made it clear that Cleveland is their new home away from home, and they want it to stay that way.

To be honest though, instances like Williams and Gibson are few and far between and a lock-out could not come at a better time following the 2010-2011 season. Yes, it is true the owners are widely to blame for the out-of-control nature of the league, but it is time for them to regain control.

If they cannot, the true people that will suffer are the fans of the game.

Follow T.J. Zuppe on Twitter @TJZuppe

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