When Ray Allen took less money to leave Boston and come to Miami—and win a championship—he took heat from his former Celtic teammates. Kevin Garnett "lost" his cell phone number. Jason Terry challenged his "willingness to stick with the tough times." Paul Pierce said he couldn't forgive Allen. Even coach Doc Rivers the issue was Allen's "ego."
A year later, and all four are out of Boston—on to better teams for the chance to win championships. It's not the same situation at all—all four were traded, though aside from possibly Terry, the trades wouldn't have happened without their say-sos. And only Allen went to a rival, one that had just beaten Boston. But ahead of last night's Miami-Brooklyn preseason tilt, LeBron James made sure to point out that the newest Nets are a bit hypocritical.
"I think the first thing I thought was, 'Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston, and now these guys are leaving Boston,'" James said. "I think it's OK; I didn't mind it. But there were a couple guys who basically shit on Ray for leaving, and now they're leaving."
Dwyane Wade was a little more politic, offering up what he called his "media answer."
"Listen, we all know how the world works," Wade said. "The biggest thing is Ray is happy here. If they're happy in Brooklyn, I'm going to be happy. We all know how it works. People say things about people when they decide to do something but then people do the same thing."
Last night's game was uneventful, as expected. Allen, Wade, and Terry didn't play, and Garnett only got 10 minutes on the court. KG and Pierce were asked about James's and Wade's comments, and were short and to the point.
Garnett: "Tell LeBron to worry about Miami. It has nothing to do with Celtic business."
Pierce, noting that he exited via trade: "I left Boston?"
I adore this stuff. These guys—Garnett, Pierce, Wade, James— are savvy enough to pay sufficient lip service to the notion that sports demand loyalty to one's employer over personal and professional fulfillment, unlike in every other job ever. I also appreciate that they completely grasp the value of a Brooklyn-Miami rivalry, and are gearing it up even before the season starts. Don't hate the player; love the game.