Athletes very rarely get to choose which city or team they play for. Although there is free agency in every sport (thanks to Curt Flood) the window of opportunity is very small and it doesn't factor in trade possibilities. Even if a player signs a free agent contract there's no guarantee that team won't trade that player at a later date. Some cities are easier to play in than others so with no further adieu here is my list of the 5 worst cities to play in.
1. New York. You either love it or you hate it, but the Big Apple is no place for the faint of heart. For every Derek Jeter, Walt Frazier, and Joe Namath there is a Randy Johnson and Bobby Bonilla. It takes a certain temperament to handle the criticism and scrutiny that comes with playing in the city that never sleeps.
2. Salt Lake City. With the exception of Karl Malone and John Stockton the Utah Jazz have not done well in keeping free agents. In addition few players consider Utah as a final destination for their career. There's not a lot to do there and the minority population is similar to Moscow.
3. Portland. Zach Randolph and Rasheed Wallace were both malcontents when they played in Rip City. After touching down in Memphis and Detroit respectively that all changed. Perhaps it's the isolation , the dreary weather, or the powerful green plants, but Portland tends to have a draining effect on players.
4. Oklahoma City. Just like Salt Lake City and Portland there's not a lot of recreational activities to participate in. The Thunder franchise is fairly new, but I suspect they will struggle to lure big name freed agents to Oklahoma. Let us not forget 70% of the state voted for John McCain in 2008. That speaks volumes about the mind set and culture over there.
5. New Orleans. The Big Easy makes the list because unlike OKC and Salt Lake there's trouble around every corner 24/7. New Orleans is known for its rich culture and never ending night life. For a player that has issues with self control and temptation New Orleans can be too much for them to handle.