Throughout sports history, many players have left their teams to become stars on other teams. Some have done it for more money, while others for a better chance at a championship, and sometimes for a change of scenery.
Stars come and go, especially if the organization they are currently in does not align with their goals. For instance, Jaylen Brown is rumored to be leaving the Boston Celtics because he is tired of being a “second option” before Jayson Tatum.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the most notable players who have made this move and what it meant for their careers.
LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers to Miami Heat and Vice Versa
LeBron James decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 to join the Miami Heat. The move was controversial and was considered a betrayal by some Cavs fans. However, it proved to be the right move for LeBron. He won two NBA championships with the Heat and was named NBA Finals MVP both times.
He did return to the Cavaliers and gave them a chip in 2016 through a historic comeback against the Golden State Warriors.
Currently, James plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. He gave the Purple and Gold a ring in 2020 with the help of Anthony Davis.
Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder to Golden State Warriors to Brooklyn Nets
In 2016, Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors. The move was met with some criticism, as Durant had just lost to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
However, it paid off for Durant, as he won two NBA championships and two NBA Finals MVP awards with the Warriors before signing with the Brooklyn Nets in 2019.
Durant now plays for the Phoenix Suns.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United to Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United to join Real Madrid in 2009. The move was seen as controversial by some United fans, but it proved to be the right decision for Ronaldo. He became Real Madrid’s all-time leading scorer and won four UEFA Champions League titles with the club before joining Juventus in 2018.
He is now with Al-Nassr FC after a failed attempt to bag a FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Lionel Messi – Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain
In 2021, Lionel Messi left Barcelona, the only club he had ever played for, to join Paris Saint-Germain. The move shocked many fans, but it was seen as a chance for Messi to win another UEFA Champions League title.
His decision has yet to pay off since moving to PSG, but seeing how it plays out in the coming years will be interesting.
Neymar – Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain
One of the biggest players to have left their teams was Neymar. In 2017, he left Barcelona to join Paris Saint-Germain for a then-record transfer fee of €222 million. The move was seen as controversial. Neymar was leaving one of the biggest clubs in the world to join a club that had never won the UEFA Champions League.
However, Neymar saw it as a chance to become the best player in the world. He has been one of PSG’s best players since joining the club.
Babe Ruth – Boston Red Sox to New York Yankees
Babe Ruth famously left the Boston Red Sox to join the New York Yankees in 1920. The move was controversial and was seen as a betrayal by some Red Sox fans. However, it proved the right move for Ruth, for he became one of the greatest players of all time and won four World Series titles with the Yankees.
Alex Rodriguez – Seattle Mariners to Texas Rangers to New York Yankees
In 2000, Alex Rodriguez left the Seattle Mariners to join the Texas Rangers on a then-record contract. He was traded to the New York Yankees in 2004, where he won a World Series title in 2009.
Rodriguez was one of the most controversial players of his era, but there is no denying of his talent whenever he is on the field.
There are many reasons why players have left their teams to become stars on other teams. Some do it for money, some for a chance at winning a championship, and others for a change of scenery. Whatever the reason, it is clear that these moves can have a huge impact on their career and their fanbase.