Time and again we hear professional sports leagues referred to as a “business”, usually to justify a player leaving a team to either join a better team or take more money. However, we should not overlook the players that remain loyal to their teams through thick and thin, and the players who sacrifice bigger contracts to remain with the same team. Here is my list of the top five loyal athletes who are playing right now.
5. Kevin Durant
It may be hard to put Kevin Durant in this list at just 24 years old, but Durant was drafted to an awful Oklahoma City Thunder team and had to carry the team on his back the first couple of years. In 2010, when the Thunder were still not very good and in the rebuilding process, Durant committed his loyalty to the team with a 5 year $86 million contract. The reward has been four consecutive playoff appearances since then including an NBA Finals appearance in 2012.
3-way tie for second: Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan
These three players have all played at least 16 seasons for one team, won at least four championships with that team, and have become the face of their respective franchises over the last decade. Derek Jeter has become an icon for the Yankees, Kobe Bryant may be considered as the greatest Laker ever, and Tim Duncan built a dynasty in San Antonio.
1. Tom Brady
Tom Brady is number one on this list because time and time again he takes a huge pay cut in order to help make his team better. Not only has he done this, he has done it successfully, making the New England Patriots the most successful dynasty of the 21st century. Considered one of the top 3 quarterbacks in the game today, he makes less money than inferior quarterbacks Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, and Joe Flacco, while having as many super bowl championships as those five combined.
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