Recently, we asked our Facebook page STACKletes to fill in the blank: “Loyalty is ____.” One of the most intriguing responses came from Patrick McCauley, who believes “Loyalty is dying in the age of money.”
“Loyal” is defined as giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution. Granted, a definition is not the most exciting thing in the world, but loyalty is an important concept for athletes. In the midst of the NBA Finals, we can’t think of anyone who better exemplifies loyalty than Dallas Mavericks star forward Dirk Nowitzki.
Nowitzki has stuck by his team since he joined them following the 1998 NBA Draft, when he was drafted by Milwaukee and immediately traded to Dallas. “Dirk has sacrificed so much for this franchise, it can’t be reduced to words,” says Mavericks president Donnie Nelson. “There’s so much that he’s done that fans will never know. He loved this city when it wouldn’t love him back in the early years.”
Not only did Nowitzki embrace the city, he stood by it despite one-and-done playoff appearances that would have sent some NBA superstars packing. He also never backed down from his harshest critics, who called him “soft.” Instead, Nowitzki hit the gym hard and hung in there with the Big D. That’s loyalty.
Another athlete who personified loyalty was the late Pat Tillman [check out STACK’s write-up on him]. After turning down a five-year, $9-million contract offer from the St. Louis Rams out of loyalty to his Arizona Cardinals, he quit football entirely to enlist in the U.S. Army following the September 11th attacks.