Thursday, July 06, 2006
Brief Sports Comment: Loyalty
Events this weekend were momentous in Detroit pro sports history.
The Red Wings' Steve Yzerman announced his retirement after 23 years, the last 20 as the team's captain; an NHL record. He came to Detroit when he was 18, and stayed in Detroit to his retirement. This will probably never happen again in any sport. When you look up the word "captain" in the dictionary, it should always be accompanied by a picture of Steve Yzerman. (Detroit Free Press columnist, Mitch Albom, gives a proper tribute here. If you're any kind of Wings fan, or even a hockey fan, prepare to get weepy.)
The agent for Detroit Pistons' star, Ben Wallace, announced that his client was signing a big contract with the Chicago Bulls, and would be leaving the Pistons, where he helped the team win one NBA title, and was much beloved in Detroit, as much for his wild, Buckwheatian Afro, as for his fierce defensive prowess. He turned down an offer which would have made him the highest paid player on the Detroit roster. Detroit gave him a chance to flower where other franchises never even gave him a look. He'd played his college ball at some out-of-the way Division II or III school. He took the money and ran.
Who do you think gets my utmost respect today? Say goodbye to playoff basketball, Ben.