Make Loyalty in the NBA Cool Again

Remember when loyalty in the NBA was cool? Back in the 80s, 90s, and even the early 2000s it wasn’t uncommon to spend your entire career with one team. The mentality of winning with what you have instead of chasing rings is a rare mentality to have in the league nowadays.  Luckily, there are still a handful of players that remain true to old traditions. 

I got, I got, I got, I got—
Loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA

Kendrick Lamar, DNA (2017)

Steph Curry, Warriors

13th Season with GSW


Drafted: 2009 by GSW (r1,pick 9)

Curry was the 9th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft to the Warriors where he’s a 4x champion, 2x MVP, 8x All Star, 2021-22 WCF MVP, 2021-22 Finals MVP, and 2x Scoring Champion. He’s accomplished this In 13 years with the franchise. Needless to say Curry will retire as a Warrior and go down as one of the best point guards in the NBA and the Greatest Shooter of all time. 

Klay Thompson, Warriors

11th Season with GSW


Drafted: 2011 by GSW (R1, pick 11)

Thompson is Curry’s right hand man where they remain a top duo in the league. Although he was sidelined for the last two seasons; Thompson averaged 20+ ppg for the majority of his career, coming back off of the Achilles injury. 

More importantly He’s bought into a system that caters to his play style and he’s still thriving 11 years later. 

Udonis Haslem, Heat

19th Season with MIA


UNDrafted; signed with mia (aug, 2003)

Haslem is the oldest active player to have stayed with one franchise his entire career. Being a key piece to each of Miami’s three championships, Haslem grew accustomed to Miami and it soon developed into his home. 

People can argue that he hasn’t been relevant since the 2011-12 season, but loyalty runs through his veins. Mentoring the young guys on the team to getting out on the court every once in a while. Haslem is 42 years old and is still playing in the NBA. Miami keeps paying the man !

Damian Lillard, Blazers

1oth Season with GSW


Drafted: 2012 by POR (R1, pick 6)

Lillard will go down as the best Trailblazer in history and that’s no disrespect to Clyde Drexler, Brandon Roy, and Lamarcus Aldridge. Lillard changed the culture of Portland, put them on the map, and made the small market franchise a continuous playoff team. 

If you opened up a dictionary and looked up the word Loyal, Dame’s name would be at the top. He Carries himself with that 90s swag, and old head mindset. 

In 61 playoff games Lillard averaged 25.7 ppg, 6.2 apg, and 4.2 rpg. He’s also a 6x All Star, 6x all NBA, and 2012-13 ROTY.

Bradley Beal, Wizards

10th Season with WAS


Drafted: 2012 by WAS (R1, pick 3)

Bradley Beal- Washington Wizards (10 Seasons): 

One of the players we all believed would abandon ship remained after he signed a 5yr/$251 million extension which includes a No Trade Clause.

Beal initiated the no trade clause in his deal and management came out and stated that “He doesn’t want to be traded and we don’t want to trade him”. Love him or hate him, but the man is extremely loyal to the city of Washington. 

To end it off Beal has racked up 30 40-point games, 5 50-point games, and 1 60-point game In 10 years with one franchise. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

9th Season with MIL


Drafted: 2013 by MIL (R1, pick 15)

Arguably the most likeable player in the NBA today, Giannis is a great face for ‘loyalty’ in the league. To bring a championship to a city where they’ve won two all time and have had a 50 year drought is an accomplishment in itself.

Averaging a double-double in five out of his nine seasons while being 5x all defense, 6x all star, back-to-back MVP, and a Champion is one hell of a resume. What more can you ask from a player ?

Loyalty Boys – Honorable Mentions

  • Draymond Green- Golden State (9 Seasons)
  • Devin Booker- Phoenix Suns (7 Seasons)
  • Marcus Smart- Boston Celtics (8 Seasons)
  • Joel Embiid- Philadelphia 76ers (8 Seasons)
  • Dwight Powell- Dallas Mavericks (8 Seasons)
  • Karl Anthony Towns- Minnesota Timberwolves (7 Seasons)
  • Myles Turner- Indiana Pacers (7 Seasons)
  • Nikola Jokic- Denver Nuggets (7 Seasons)

NLJ Community

More players have accumulated six or fewer seasons with one franchise, but it’s very rare to see guys stick around for Seven or more.  Don’t let loyalty die in the league. Yes, we all love ring chasers, but when a guy can stick through the ups and downs of a franchise for his whole career that’s truly something special.



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