Load Of Excuses

NBA players use the excuse of "Load Management" to stay out games in order to rest throughout the season

“For me, my background frankly, it all goes back to expectations,” Orlando Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford said. “Being with Michael [Jordan] in Charlotte,  he used to tell them every year, you’re paid to play 82 games.” 

 

NBA superstar and two-time Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard’s decision to sit out for ‘load management’ against debatably the best player in the league has players and fans everywhere enraged. Leonard had the chance to prove himself on his new team and guard the league’s most dominant player,  Bucks Forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The last time we saw the two play was in the playoffs where Leonard bested Antetokounmpo and had everyone impatiently waiting for a rematch.

 

What is load management? Load management is a fancy term for giving a player a night off in an 82 game season in hopes of preserving energy for the playoffs. The playoffs don’t start until April, so many argue that you don’t need to preserve any energy for something that will happen in four months. Load management became a big deal two years ago when Spurs coach Gregg Popovic decided to sit all five starters due to ‘load management’ because the next night they had a very tough game.

 

Because of that decision, the NBA decided to start putting fines on players that are sitting out games due to load management when there is no reason for it. Leonard cost the Los Angeles Clippers fifty thousand dollars because of that decision and the Clippers could do nothing but accept the fine. The team tried to make an excuse that Leonard was unhealthy and was battling an old knee injury, which doesn’t seem like the case because the next night, he had a 27 point, 10 rebound performance against the Portland Trail Blazers.

 

“Well, he looked well-rested,” Trail Blazers head Coach Terry Stotts said.

 

Not only is Stotts angry about the situation, many NBA players are as well. After the game that Leonard skipped, Antetokounmpo had some words to say, proving his work ethic.

 

“I can’t speak to what other teams or what other players do, I want to play. If I don’t get my work in, I don’t feel good.”

 

In the past three years combined, Antetokounmpo has missed a total of 19 games. Meanwhile, Leonard missed 22 games just last year. Leonard is still a phenomenal basketball player, but a basketball player with a lot of criticism. Anybody who misses that much time will not be respected as much as an all-time great like Antetokounmpo will.

 

Leonard gets paid millions of dollars to play the sport he dedicated his life to and he loves. He is a professional athlete. He gets overpaid for his job. There is no excuse to miss the toughest games of his season because of ‘load management’. He is taking advantage of a phrase that means you are too tired to play your favorite sport. The NBA has to do more about this before it gets even more out of hand, these companies don’t care about fifty-thousand dollar fines out of their 41.2 billion dollars. Fine the players more than the companies.