But before I throw gasoline on the fire that’s already erupted between Lakers "fans" and Nuggets fans in the comments on this blog, I will give Lakers "fans" one morsel of credit. Like Denver Broncos and New York Yankees fans, Lakers "fans" deem any season that falls short of a championship a total failure and they demand immediate changes. Even though they have one of the best general managers and coaches in the NBA, Lakers "fans" hold them accountable for every move and every game (see http://www.firemitchkupchak.com/, which has been silent since May of 2007).
Alright, enough with the niceties. Here are 10 reasons why I hate Lakers "fans" (in reverse order)…
10) Half the courtside seats are empty in the first and third quarters of every game. I’m getting the obvious and least offensive complaint out of the way first.
9) They’re incapable of acknowledging a bad trade when it happens. When Caron Butler was traded for Kwame Brown, the general consensus in Los Angeles at the time was that this was a good thing. And no matter how many times I tried rubbing that trade in with my Lakers "fan" friends, I always got this reaction: "Caron played the same position as Kobe Bryant anyway, he had to go." Uh, no. Caron plays small forward and Kobe is a shooting guard. I’m sure Phil Jackson would’ve hated having to coach Kobe, Butler and Lamar Odom at the same time.
8) They act like the entire league is obligated to ensure the Lakers success, and thus every team should be trading their best players to the Lakers for pennies on the dollar. (Hence why Memphis Grizzlies’ "General Manager" Chris Wallace must be a Lakers fan). This came up a lot during the Kevin Garnett discussion last summer when Lakers "fans" everywhere were befuddled as to why Minnesota wouldn’t accept Lamar Odom, Ronny Turiaf and a late first round pick for KG. Lakers "fans" took it as a personal insult that Minnesota wouldn’t bite on that paltry offer for one of the game’s greatest players of all time.
7) LA radio "personality" Vic "The Brick" Jacobs. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, look him up on Google, because he's a microcosm of Lakers "fans" everywhere. When the Knicks made the NBA Finals in 1999, Vic "The Brick" Jacobs, the supposed "Lakers Homer" (who, by the way, proclaimed Kobe’s innocence on the rape charge even though he didn’t have any of the facts) referred to the Knicks as "Vic’s Knicks" just because Jacobs was born in Queens. This would be like Sandy Clough – who thankfully isn’t a cartoonish figure like Jacobs – proclaiming last year’s Giants Super Bowl team as "Sandy’s Giants". Huh? I'm feelin' you, Vic!
6) Seats that should go to real basketball fans are instead occupied by wives, girlfriends and escorts. (Although, in fairness to Lakers "fans", the plethora of escorts at every game makes any visit to Staples Center quite enjoyable…that is, of course, if you’re into fake breasts). The next time you go to a Lakers game, check out all the (one time) trophy wives of the courtside ticket holders. They literally just sit there in their awful "ladies’ suits" with dreadful Madeline Albright-style pins affixed to the lapel and do nothing while their husbands take in the game. These paid-off housewives are so bejeweled, they probably killed entire tribes of Sierra Leoneans just to get those diamonds to their wrinkled fingers. On a side note, I’m convinced that more Persian guys can credit Lakers games to getting themselves laid than any other event in Los Angeles, over even bottle service at Republic (or whatever this week’s hot Hollywood club hangout that I could never get into is) or renting a Ferrari for a night.
5) They’re the biggest bandwagon fans in the country and only support the Lakers when the team is really, really, really, really good. They’re such bandwagon fans, in fact, that when the Clippers were the better team two seasons ago, everyone in LA was suddenly a Clippers "fan" (just like everyone in LA was suddenly an Angels "fan" in 2002 and suddenly a Rams "fan" in 1999).
4) 85% of them aren’t from Los Angeles and, like newcomers to Scientology, these non-native Lakers "fan" converts are young, impressionable and gullible. Take my friend Jason from Boston, for example. No joke, after moving to LA, Jason (like others of his ilk) began wearing Lakers shorts. That’s right, a guy from Boston wearing Lakers shorts!! And he used the same bull---t line that all Boston natives pull on me when I catch them wearing Lakers gear: "I’m really just a Red Sox fan, anyway." Yeah, right. Like all you Boston frauds that live in LA weren’t snatching up NBA League Passes this year. (Note: this rant excludes my friend Dan from Boston who also lives in LA and actually had the League Pass when the Celtics won all of 24 games last season).
3) Now that he’s out of town, they pretend like they never liked Shaquille O’Neal in the first place. All Shaq did for the Lakers organization was bring them four NBA Finals appearances and three rings while being incredibly active and charitable within the Los Angeles community and buying Mark Madsen a shiny, new car. Not only can’t you find a Shaq defender anywhere in LA these days, but Lakers "fans" will go out of their way to tell you why they hate Shaq: "he never worked hard," "he was always fat and out of shape," "he was a big baby," "he was a me-first guy," and the one that gets me the most, "those teams were boring to watch." Boring to watch? Four finals appearances and three rings were boring to watch?!!
2) They unmercifully defend Kobe Bryant. Whether he’s throwing his teammates like Shaq or Andrew Bynum under the bus, clobbering white defenders after jump shots, regularly spouting profanity-laced tirades at the referees for all the six year olds within earshot to hear, (allegedly) forcing himself sexually onto a female hotel worker in Colorado and subsequently paying her – and his wife – off, or throwing public hissy fits to get himself traded from the very team he wished for by demanding Shaq’s ouster, Bryant can do no wrong in the eyes of Lakers "fans". When Kobe got in trouble in Colorado for his – let’s say – "inappropriate actions," the reaction among Lakers Nation was: "let’s wait for the evidence" or "she was asking for it by going into his room" or "she’s a whore anyway, she slept with like five guys the day before and just wants some attention" and so on. You’d have thought Lakers "fans" everywhere had performed the DNA samples on the girl’s underwear themselves. And yet when any other athlete allegedly does something that runs afoul of the law, like Carmelo Anthony’s suspicion of getting a DUI, he’s most assuredly guilty in the eyes of Lakers "fans" – evident by their oh-so-clever "D-U-I" chant at Staples Center on Sunday.
1) They’re in myopic denial of the favoritism the Lakers receive from the NBA.
Lakers "fans" claim that their team is subject to the same rules and regulations as the other 29 NBA teams, but this simply isn't true. Here are the indisputable examples…
-Since the Lakers can’t be bothered to play on Saturdays, they never have to play a back-to-back at the end of week…typically the most grueling games on the schedule. Moreover, while most teams (especially in the Western Conference) have to go into hostile territory for Saturday games where it’s the only thing in town to do, the Lakers never have to play those games. If you think it doesn’t matter, in 2007-08 road teams were a combined 12-28 on Saturday night games that took place in Portland, Utah, Sacramento, San Antonio, Memphis and Minneapolis.
-The Lakers have historically been given favorable treatment from the referees in supremely important games. One of the most famous examples of this was Game Six of the 2002 Western Conference Finals against the Sacramento Kings. With the Lakers down three games to two, the NBA was in danger of the Lakers not making it to the NBA Finals, so the refs ensured that the Lakers shot 34 free throw attempts to the Kings’ 18. While Game Six of 2002 might be more famous, the most egregious example was Game Seven of the 2000 Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trailblazers. Many site the Blazers demise in that game to their 3-of-18 shooting in the fourth quarter (which admittedly, was a huge factor in the loss), and yet everyone fails to recognize that the 21 free throw attempt differential in favor of the Lakers didn’t exactly help Portland’s cause, either.
-Another example of a free ride from the refs came during Game Six of the 1988 NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons. The Lakers were down three games to two, and down one point with 14 seconds to go. The Lakers fed the ball into Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for a hook shot, and Bill Laimbeer was called for a foul which, upon review in the replay, never happened. Don’t believe me? Watch the video.
-Shockingly, the dean of NBA referees (and USA Basketball wrecker) Stu Jackson admitted that the referees made an incorrect call this season that essentially gave a game to the Lakers when Derek Fisher pulled Monta Ellis down with 3.3 seconds left in the Warriors 123-119 loss to the Lakers in Oakland. Given that the Warriors missed the playoffs by just two games, I’m sure they were thrilled with the NBA’s diligence on this one.
-And of course, earlier this decade NBA Commissioner David Stern, when asked what teams would comprise his ideal NBA Finals, was quoted as saying "the Lakers vs. the Lakers."
But no, there’s no favoritism towards the Lakers out there.
Beating the Lakers in the playoffs is like beating the Republicans in Presidential Elections that take place in Ohio or Florida. You have to knock them out by an overwhelming majority of points/votes because if it's at all close, the game will be rigged against you. So let's overcome the odds and beat these Lakers already. Go Nuggets!!