A recent history of NBA players writing open letters

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. And that’s never more clearly felt than of late, as we are currently in the midst of a time of change in the NBA. Free agency has seen a bunch of NBA players change franchises and cities, and while at this point we’re used to seeing guys move cities at the drop of a hat, it’s still often difficult for a player to leave behind the fans and people who have helped them reach their current status. So how better to reach out directly and let people know exactly how you feel than via an open letter?

The open letter is not a new form — athletes on the move have done things such as taking out ads in newspapers to publish open letters for years. But the advent of the internet has allowed for new forms and forums.

Here are some of the letters we’ve seen over the last few weeks…

KEVIN DURANT
In a letter on The Players’ Tribune announcing his departure from Oklahoma City for Golden State, Durant said he will always miss the relationships he built in Oklahoma City…

I’m from Washington, D.C. originally, but Oklahoma City truly raised me. It taught me so much about family as well as what it means to be a man. There are no words to express what the organization and the community mean to me, and what they will represent in my life and in my heart forever. The memories and friendships are something that go far beyond the game. Those invaluable relationships are what made this deliberation so challenging.

It really pains me to know that I will disappoint so many people with this choice, but I believe I am doing what I feel is the right thing at this point in my life and my playing career.

I will miss Oklahoma City, and the role I have had in building this remarkable team. I will forever cherish the relationships within the organization — the friends and teammates that I went to war with on the court for nine years, and all the fans and people of the community. They have always had my back unconditionally, and I cannot be more grateful for what they have meant to my family and to me.

TIM DUNCAN
The greatest power forward of all-time walked away from the game after two decades, but despite a reputation for being tight-lipped, Duncan didn’t leave silently. Here’s the open letter Duncan wrote to Spurs fans…

JAMES HARDEN
The Houston Rockets guard isn’t going anywhere in free agency, but he did announce a contract extension that will keep him in Houston at least through 2020. Along with the announcement of the news, Harden took to Twitter to post an open letter to Rockets fans thanking them for their support and promising that winning a title remains their ultimate goal…

DWIGHT HOWARD
Meanwhile, Harden’s former teammate Dwight Howard signed with his hometown Atlanta Hawks. And earlier today, Dwight took out a full-page ad in the Houston Chronicle, thanking the fans for their support…

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DERRICK ROSE
The Chicago Bulls former MVP point guard was traded to the New York Knicks, and Rose posted an open letter on The Cycle to fans in Chicago, his hometown. And even though he’s leaving Chicago, Rose says he’ll continue to carry the city with him…

Chicago made me who I am. It’s tatted on my wrist. I was raised in my grandmother’s house on South Paulina Street in Englewood. Being drafted by the Bulls, becoming an All-Star and an MVP on the Bulls, helping the team make the playoffs — — all of that was a dream come true. I’ll never forget it. I’ve carried Chicago with me everywhere I’ve gone, from around the country to all over the world. I always will.

I understand that this is a business and the Bulls have their plans, their own ideas with what direction they want to go with the team, but I’m gonna use this as motivation. I was with them for eight years and they let me go. There’s no hard feelings, no grudges. They’re trying to do what’s best for the team. I totally understand that. But I don’t think I would be wrong for using this as motivation.

JOAKIM NOAH
Rose’s former teammate with the Bulls, Joakim Noah returned to his hometown by signing with the New York Knicks in free agency. And on his way home, Noah wrote an open letter to the fans that he shared with the Chicago Tribune

The relationships I made in Chicago go far beyond basketball, and to me that is just as big as winning the championship. I wish the people in Chicago nothing but the best and I hope we can all continue to be united in bringing some peace to the city. The work to bring people together and build positivity throughout the neighborhood will continue through my foundation and many other great foundations throughout the city that my family and I will stay involved with.

I will continue to do my best to help this city. Chicago is home for the rest of my life, and my dream is still to help make the city a safer place for kids to grow up in.

DWYANE WADE
After spending his entire career with the Miami Heat, D-Wade ended up signing with his hometown Chicago Bulls. To reach out directly to the fans in South Florida, Wade went old school and released an open letter to the Associated Press

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the Miami community and especially #HEATNATION for all of their love and support over the years. It has been truly incredible. I am deeply moved and appreciative of the positive messages from my fans expressing that they want what’s best for me and I know they will support my decision. The memories including championship parades and five conference titles are incredible moments we have shared that will always remain close to my heart as I begin the next chapter of my life.

Growing up in Robbins, Ill., I never dreamed that an NBA career could have even been possible and that one day I would wear a Chicago Bulls jersey. Watching the Bulls growing up inspired me at an early age to pursue my dream of becoming a basketball player. My most treasured memories were watching my dad play basketball on the courts of Fermi Elementary School and developing my game at the Blue Island Recreation Center. I have never forgotten where I came from and I am thankful to have an opportunity to play for the team that first fueled my love of the game. Many of my family members still live in Chicago and I am excited to return home to a city very close to my heart.

I look forward to returning to my roots and to what lies ahead.

AL HORFORD
After nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, including the franchise’s first trip to the Conference Finals since moving to Atlanta five decades ago, Al Horford decided to sign with the Boston Celtics. To let Atlantans know how he felt, he purchased a full page ad in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution thanking the fans in the ATL…

http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/AtlantaJournalConstit

HARRISON BARNES
After four seasons (and one title) with the Golden State Warriors, Harrison Barnes signed a new contract with the Dallas Mavericks. Before leaving for the Lone Star State, Barnes took to Twitter to thank The Bay…

MATTHEW DELLAVEDOVA
Delly became something of a cult hero in Cleveland the last two seasons as he help Cleveland end a 52-year drought and finally win a championship. But after signing with the Milwaukee Bucks in free agency, Delly took to Twitter to post a heartfelt note of thanks to Cavs fans…

KENT BAZEMORE
Hawks forward Kent Bazemore hit free agency and after turning down several offers from other teams, ended up signing a long-term deal with the Hawks. So instead of writing a goodbye letter to Atlanta fans, Baze took out a full-page ad in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to thank fans for their support thus far while promising there is more to accomplish…

http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/AtlantaJournalConstit

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