It's not as if this has not been expected for some time. Monta Ellis' name has invariably been mentioned for the past few years in trade rumors. Even if nothing came to fruition until this year, the franchise has always tried to trade away their star player. Monta was eventually going to leave, whether we wanted it to happen or not.
Yet, it's a little sad to see him leave for the Bucks, even if all the signs pointed to him leaving. Monta brought his A-game every night, unlike other players in the NBA. He set the example for the team though his play - he played hard and left everything on the court. While other "franchise" players would have given up on a losing team, Monta did not, and played every game as if it would be his last. As a fan, you knew that you would always be entertained whenever Monta was in the game. He would make a crazy shot, or spin down the lane for a ridiculously athletic layup. And if he did that in Oracle, the arena would go crazy every single time.
In addition, Monta was a gladiator. It was incredibly underrated how he played though pain, even though he could have rested. Despite taking many hard falls and hits, usually when he drove down the lane, Monta would always bounce back up, ready for the next play. It didn't matter to him that the Warriors were a losing team and that taking a few games off wouldn't make a difference. If he could play, he thought, he would play. It was fun for a fan to witness a player so passionate about the game.
However, what truly distinguished him from other players was not his play on the court, but his play off the court. Athletes are human beings, just like the rest of us. Monta undoubtedly looked at the Warriors' record every game and understood that this was a losing team. He also heard about all the rumors, about how this was definitely the year the Warriors were going to trade him. Being on a losing team and being mentioned in trade rumors eats at athletes. But never once did Monta complain, never once did Monta trash the organization. Even when the media baited him with certain questions, Monta would not take the bait. He was a consummate professional, and never once let his personal feelings become an issue.
So here's to you, Monta. You will be missed. I'll always remember this play.
Feel free to leave your memories about Monta below.