The subtle tension between basketball and hockey players can be traced far back to the beginning of one’s journey through organized sports. The two sports are played during the same season growing up, so the competition for fans is typically fierce. I can’t tell you how upset I was in high school when Christina Campbell attended a hockey playoff game over my basketball team’s state tourney game. That lettuce is a powerful aphrodisiac. Christina, I miss you.
That tension can climb all the way up the ranks to the professional level, as evidenced in how Edmonton Oilers forward Milan Lucic responded to how DeMar DeRozan handled being traded from Toronto to San Antonio.
Lucic appeared on the Spittin Chiclets podcast and compared him getting traded from the Bruins to the Oilers to DeRozan’s situation. Words were not minced.
“No, man. I wasn’t offended,” he said. “It’s a business. Unless you’re (Sidney) Crosby or (Connor) McDavid or LeBron (James), you’re just another guy, just another player. For me, I understood they were trying to go in a different direction. How could I be bitter?
“When I hear him talk about the bitterness and the disrespect and all that type of stuff, it’s like, you didn’t get traded to frickin’ Cleveland. You got traded to San Antonio, a team that competes for a title every year. You get to be coached by the Bill Belichick of basketball with Gregg Popovich. You feel like you’re being disrespected? Come on man, you’re still making $30 million a year living in San Antonio with no state tax. Give me a break, man. Nobody feels bad for you. F*** off.”
While I do believe DeRozan deserved a bit more honesty and transparency from the Raptors organization, Lucic’s point about crying over spilt milk holds weight. Lets not forget that back in 2016, DeRozan was awarded a $139 million contract, the second biggest contract in NBA history at the time. That’s a wild contract for someone who often times disappears in the playoffs and has been wholly ineffective in stopping LeBron, even for a game, the past two years. Business be business.