I remember, back in the prime of their SuperBowl dynasty, seeing and hearing media reports that players were willing to take a pay cut if they could play for the New England Patriots. They wanted to be part of a winning franchise with quality personnel more than they wanted to get paid.
Will we ever hear similar sentiments in basketball or baseball? Are there really athletes out there who prefer winning over fat paychecks? Does it even exist? Sometimes there are superstars who talk about their legacy having so much to do with winning championships, but i think we see their true colors when they negotiate for a max contract and limit what their front office can do with the rest of the roster.
Imagine what the future of the Blazers would look like if Brandon and Lamarcus both signed for $10mil/year with no incremental increases. Or :gasp:... "only" seven figures? It would be so much more affordable to sign quality, consistent complimentary players, and they'd still be pullin' in bank. As the leaders of the team I think it would set a great example to their teammates that winning comes first, and it would be an even better example to our community and the kids who grow up with NBA aspirations.
Having lived in the Willamette Valley my whole life, I feel confident saying that the Trailblazers ORGANIZATION is outstanding. A passionate, interactive owner who has a fat bank account. A general manager who's intelligent, detail-oriented and great at what he does. A coach who runs one of the most efficient offenses in the league. A fanbase so passionate that we regularly sellout the arena, have multiple online message boards and blogs, and are often compared to a college-type of environment. Quality of life in Portland is great unless you grew up in the sun.
When all those other factors are so strong, all it takes is a couple of leaders making a selfless decision about their financial status. It could lead to multiple championships, dynasty status, income from promotional/advertising opportunities, and the legacy they supposedly value. Will it ever happen?
In just about every instance in sports, none of the greats are remembered for their income.