— FOX Sports Southeast (@FOXSportsSE) July 13, 2016
Kent Bazemore is a shining example of how an athlete getting paid millions of dollars can be something more than fodder for disgruntled talk-radio callers to complain about entitled glory boys, but an inspirational story for others to follow.
After toiling in obscurity for years on the end of NBA benches, Bazemore started for the Hawks last season and played well enough to earn a four-year, $70 million contract in Atlanta. Other teams, most notably the Houston Rockets, were pushing for him to leave Atlanta for a bigger payday, but Bazemore decided to stay for reasons deeper than money or even basketball success:
I just love it here. People just embraced me, and it just feels like home, man… It just made sense, you know? Like, why walk away from something so perfect?
The Hawks lost Jeff Teague and Al Horford and acquired Dwight Howard, so they’ll be a different team that may be worse than the alchemy that produced five co-Players of the Month back in January 2015, but that doesn’t matter to Bazemore as much as living and playing in a place that has accepted him and where he’s happy. It’s impossible to fault him for that.