We've all seen it before: a veteran player who has toiled away in mediocrity for the span of his long career just longing for a chance to win. With his career waning, the player does what would be considered cowardly in almost any other situation: he joins a winner.
The list of guys who have jumped off of a sinking ship and onto a rising one for less money at the end of their career for one last chance at a ring is numerous. Among the most notable names are Karl Malone, Gary Payton, Juwan Howard and some might even add Ray Allen to the list.
Regardless of who is on the list, the question remains: how do fans feel about these guys? Are we okay with guys riding the bench for a contender in order to win a ring? Or is that a cheap way out?
Among the recent additions in 2012 are guys like Antawn Jamison, Grant Hill and Steve Nash. While all three are headed to Los Angeles, it's tough to assume that all three are simply chasing a ring.
For Jamison, it appears as if he's chasing a ring by taking the veteran's minimum to play for the Lakers.
Nash, on the other hand, says he chose L.A. to stay close to his kids, but obviously playing for one of the top five teams in the league wasn't exactly discouraging.
Finally, that brings us to Hill, who chose the up-and-coming Clippers — seemingly disqualifying himself from "chasing-a-ring" status.
Regardless of where these guys stand, however, the question remains as to how fans should respond.
On one hand, I like the idea of a guy like Nash winning a ring regardless of where he plays. For one, he's still a contributor and won't be riding the bench, and secondly, he's a really, really well-liked guy.
The opposite side of the spectrum has guys like Juwan Howard, who just won his first title as a member of the Miami Heat in his 17th professional season. Howard averaged 2.7 minutes in the postseason.
For me, as long as a guy can still contribute and make a team better, he deserves the recognition as a champion. Bench-warmers, on the other hand, are doing something our society usually punishes: taking the easy way out.
A championship is a rare accomplishment that only a few athletes will ever earn during their careers. That's not something that should be devalued by players who sell their soul for a chance to win an expensive piece of jewelry.
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