Load management has been a hot button issue in the NBA for a long time. And rightly so. Many fans save up money for maybe one or two games to see their favorite player in action. Those plans could be ruined at a moment's notice if an athlete and the team's training staff consider a rest day necessary. Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield empathizes with the plight of the common fan.
“In this NBA with guys sitting out to rest, I believe if you can play, play,” Hield said, via the Pacers Twitter. “Fans spend their savings to watch you. I'm not an All-Star, but there are a lot of fans in arenas that scream my name.”
The 30-year-old has never played less than 72 games in a full season in his seven-year career, something that is incredibly rare in today's game. He has been lucky not to suffer any major injury, but Hield has likely battled through discomfort and the many aches and pain that come with being a professional athlete. He powers through in part for the fans.
Kawhi Leonard is one of the faces of load management and has played just 47 games this season. Stars are paid extremely well for the revenue they make owners as well as the entertainment they provide for people. Unfortunately, that entertainment is not always guaranteed, unless you are there to see No. 24 for Indiana take the court. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is trying to change that, however.
The new proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) could include a minimum number of games played in order to qualify for end-of-season awards. Those feats come with contract bonuses that players may be extra motivated to obtain.
In the meantime, Hield probably gained a lot more fans by championing the people. The Pacers (33-44) are essentially out of the NBA Play-In picture, but expect to see Buddy against the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night.