DeMarre Carroll Puts LaMarcus Aldridge To Shame With Goodbye Letter To Old Team
If you're lucky enough to be a Memphis Grizzlies fan, or a Chicago Bulls fan, you didn't have to watch one of your star players leave your team in free agency this offseason. Trail Blazers fans weren't so lucky, as four out last season's five starters -- including big prize LaMarcus Aldridge -- are gone; ditto Hawks fans, who watched much-beloved swingman DeMarre Carroll bolt for Toronto.
Lots of players switch teams for more money or a better fit every year -- that's the business of the NBA. Sometimes players write goodbye letters to their old fanbases. Both Aldridge (who just last year said he wanted to become the greatest Blazer ever and is a bonafide superstar) and Carroll (who was barely more than a rotation player before coming to Atlanta) wrote letters after departing their teams, and the difference between what LMA crapped out to a reporter and what Carroll wrote on The Players' Tribune is stunning.
Aldridge, who left Portland for San Antonio after nine years with the Blazer, sent his goodbye letter to John Canzano of The Oregonian. The full copy of the letter is below:
Dear Rip City, Thank you!
Those two words on a page don't begin to express the gratitude I have for the opportunity the entire Trail Blazers organization, my teammates, the media, and you fans gave me. The past nine years have been a blessing, and I will take all of the valuable memories with me as I head back home.
As I'm sure you can respect, my decision was a very personal one but not one I took lightly. Although I will be wearing a different uniform the next time I come back to Portland, please know that I will always hold my time in a Blazers uniform near and dear to my heart.
Your friend, LA
Okay. This is... fine. It sounds a little bit like his agent wrote it and signed "Your friend, LA" at the bottom, but it's not like Aldridge HAD to write this. So, okay, thanks?
Meanwhile, Carroll, who turned his career around in just two short seasons with Atlanta, had a lot to say in The Players' Tribune. Although we can't copy all of what he wrote, it goes from telling intensely personal stories of his fears about making it in the league and that injury he suffered in the playoffs to heartfelt thanks to his coaches, teammates and fans. Some highlights:
I’m really excited about my future in Toronto, but it only feels right to say a proper goodbye to the city of Atlanta, which will always feel like a home to me.
The Hawks organization — from the coaches, to the front office, to the fans, to my brothers in the locker room — gave me so much confidence in my abilities as a player, and it changed my life.
Lots of guys have long careers in this league and never get to play on a team as successful as we were last year. Winning 60 games in a season is an honor that’s not lost on me, and I’ll carry memories from this past year with me forever.
I’m really going to miss the locker room. It’s a great group in there, and I know they’ll find success for a long time.
I hung out with Paul Millsap a lot while I was here, so I felt fortunate to be able to go through this process with him. This was the first time I’d ever been a priority during free agency, so I appreciated having him around to get advice. Paul’s a great teammate and I’m going to miss playing with him.
I’m also going to miss getting to watch Kyle Korver shoot the ball.
There was this one shooting drill we had in practice, and Kyle would just dominate everybody. It took me a while to even build up the courage to challenge him. I practiced for a couple of weeks and was hitting most of my shots, so I called Kyle over and said I was ready to take the throne. I told him I’m the Black Kyle Korver.
I will always be thankful for the way this city treated me on and off the court. This was the first time in my career where I really felt like a household name. I can’t describe how much it meant to me every time a fan would approach me in public just to say that they loved the way I played the game. You guys always made me feel like a superstar, so I hustled as hard as I could to play like one. When I looked into the crowd and saw those #5 jerseys and Junkyard Dog t-shirts, it meant everything to me. Without you guys, I really don’t believe I’d be the player I am today.
This letter has everything that the Aldridge letter is missing -- basic things like names of people, specific memories, actual emotions being expressed. From a mere numbers perspective, Carroll blows Aldridge away: Carroll's letter clocks in at 1,136 words (not including the Toronto-specific post-script). Aldridge's: 117. That's 568 words per year (over two years) for Carroll, and just 13 words per year (over nine) for Aldridge.
Competition between basketball players takes place on the court, not on the word processor. But in the battle for "Who actually seems like they give a fuck?" Aldridge just got dusted.
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