In recent years, especially in the NBA, we’ve seen a trend of superstar players wanting to play together in the hopes of winning multiple championships. But now players like Neymar Jr and Kyrie Irving have come out saying they now want to do their own thing. Is this the end of super-teams?
Neymar Jr signs with PSG
Paris Saint-Germain confirmed the signing of the Brazilian star from Barcelona for an unprecedented €222 million fee.
The 25 year old has been the subject of intense speculation all summer and has finally put pen-to-paper on a five-year deal.
Obviously money was a big incentive for Neymar Jr who, according to ESPN FC, will be making €30 million per year after taxes. He’s also been handed a major signing bonus in excess of his net annual sum.
But it’s also no secret that there’s another major reason for the move. Neymar Jr wanted to move away from the greatest player in the world and create his own legacy somewhere else. Playing in Lionel Messi’s shadow had become too much for Neymar who clearly sees himself as a #1, not a #2.
Kyrie Irving requests a trade
A similar situation took place recently in the NBA. Kylie Irving, who’s to Lebron James what Neymar Jr is to Messi, has requested to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Irving has apparently mentioned that he is tired of playing with King James… Whatever that means!
You could argue that Irving doesn’t want to go through another season of speculations about Lebron leaving Cleveland. And also that in order to negotiate his next contract, this could be a good move for him now. But still, it does seem strange to want to leave a player who pretty much guarantees you a shot at the NBA finals.
Neymar Jr and Kyrie Irving starting a trend
So why are Neymar Jr and Kyrie Irving so unhappy playing with some of the greatest athletes of all time? Is it ego? is it a lack of challenge? Or is this a classic case of listening to your agent and your entourage a little too much?
In the past, plenty of great athletes were perfectly happy being number two on a winning team. Scotty Pippen (NBA), Jerry Rice (NFL), Mark Messier (NHL) and Robin (Batman comic books) come to mind. Today, just look at what the Golden State Warriors are able to accomplish with several players on their roster who could be leading a team somewhere else.
At the end of the day, pro sport is a business. Neymar Jr and Kyrie Irving not only see themselves as great players, they also see the opportunity to cash in while they are still in their prime. Moving out of a sporting god’s shadow might cost them a few championships. But they will most likely make up for it with several millions of dollars. So who can blame them? We all know someone who had a good job in a big company and left it for a much better job with a great salary but in a smaller company.
In my opinion, all pro sports are full of two things. They are full of egos – players, management and owners included. And they are full of money. And that’s a perfect recipe for record signings and shocking trade requests. Expect to see more of both in the future.
by Ed Toussaint – contributor