Loyalty is an ideal that is priceless but not cultivated the way it should by many business practitioners. It seems that so many businesses are focusing on finding new clients that they forget to take care of those that have been with them since day one. The same occurs in the sports world but since some of the athletes are multimillionaires their loyalty is often overlooked. Kobe Bryant has come under some criticism for his recent contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, both he and the organization should be praised for how they brought this deal to a close based on loyalty.
Towards the end of November Kobe Bryant signed a two-year contract extension that is worth $48.5 million dollars. In signing this deal Bryant has solidified himself as a Laker for the rest of his career while the team locks in two more years of one of the most exciting players in NBA history. However, there are still some who looked at the deal and decided it was bad for either the Lakers or Bryant for various reasons. Instead, this deal show be looked upon as a reward in loyalty by both the player and the team.
For the Lakers one must recognize the amount of money that he has brought into the organization. Kobe has been a Laker since 1996. In that span of time the team has played for seven NBA championships and won five. As he has grown into one of the greatest athletes to play the game, the team has greatly benefited during this journey.
Coming into this year the team was riding a wave of more than 300 consecutive games in which they had sold out the Staples Center that hosts their home games. With Bryant out due to injury that streak was ended. Bryant’s number 24 jersey is ranked number three among all sellers this year and that is more revenue that the Lakers generate from his presence. Even though the Lakers were expected to have a sub-par year they are still scheduled for 29 nationally televised games which is the most among any team in the league. All of these examples point towards streams of revenue that the Lakers can attribute to Kobe Bryant.
From the player standpoint Kobe is earning these millions coming off of a devastating injury at the end of last season. He’s also 35 years of age which is well after the point that most players begin to see a drop in their production. The Lakers are not only rewarding him for past success but showing faith that he will return to his form that can lead this team to another championship during these two years.
Loyalty in professional sports is very rare, especially when money is brought into play. Teams have been quick to jettison players in the past while players are often out to earn the most money they can during their short careers. Both Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers behaved in a different manner during this situation. Business managers, owners and entrepreneurs can learn from this moment in how they treat valuable clients while working hard to obtain new business.