Monday, June 15, 2009

Guest Entry - Spotting The Lakers Bandwagoners

Hey, this is Rory here, we'll get to our guest in a bit. First, a little backstory. Growing up in North Jersey, I was surrounded by mostly Knicks fans. Next, there were the Bulls fans (who jumped on with MJ). Finally, there were the lowly Nets fans.

But, when I went to NYU, I was able to meet a more diverse group of people from across the country. These people were die-hard fans of their local teams. I met a Dallas fan who saw his team both win 14 games to start a season and 14 games during an ENTIRE season. I love people who root for the home team - cheering for the Knicks or Bulls and not being from New York or Chicago just seems so wrong to me.

This NBA finals pitted two of my friends against each other - Santosh from Florida:

And Brad from LA:

So, as a courteous gesture, I offered the winner a chance to voice his joy to the world via this enormously popular blog. So, without further ado, I give you - Brad's thoughts. For more of Brad's thoughts and ramblings, please check out his podcast, The Brad Bogner Show.

As a Lakers fan (and most importantly a sports fan), we are well aware of the avalanche of news stories coming up this summer begging to ask the question of where the Lakers 15th championship puts Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson in the history books, among other topics. But let's talk instead about the bandwagon Los Angeles Lakers fans. While the organization has plenty of devout and suppotive followers, they have their share of frontrunning fanatics like the rest of the world. Here are some easy telltale signs to determine if someone you know might be a recent Lakers fan.

1. They own a car flag.

Ugh. You know these people. You're driving on the 405, and all the sudden the freeway is just littered with Lakers flags attached to the passenger side window of the car. These are the worst, because the frontrunning aspect is so obvious. These flags never come out before the Lakers are on the cusp of another championship (Similar to the now popular USC Trojan car flags, which only come up after a Rose Bowl victory). However, they're generally so annoying to look at, we should all be thankful they only sprout up in June for a few weeks.

2. No clue where the name "Lakers" comes from.

Part of being a fan is knowing the background of an organization, especially a team like Los Angeles rich with history. It's unsettling to know there are Lakers fans out there completely unaware of the fact the team moved from Minneapolis at one point. Especially troubling is the fact this most likely means they are also oblivious of the First Great Big Man in George "Mr. Basketball" Mikan.

Anyway, the Lakers name came from the Pacific Ocean, right???

3. Enjoyed "Kobe Doin' Work."

Movie sucked. It's as simple as that. I haven't seen a more boring movie in recent times. About the only positive thing someone could gain from this movie is that it was free. You would think having a fascinating athlete as well as a visionary director like Spike Lee would allow for quite a good film (I figured if ABC can attach "visionary writer" to David S. Goyer I can give the same to Spike. Yeah, David S. Goyer of Blade 3:Trinity fame is a visionary. I think it's safe to say Franklin and Einstein are rolling in their graves right about now). The film is also very campy and comes off like a cheesy basketball instructional video for kids at camp. The youths watching this will want to immediately go back to doing suicide sprints on the courts. I'll stick with Hubie Brown's DVD series.

4. Participates in a riot.

You'd think the fact the Lakers have now been involved in an unprecedented THIRTY NBA Finals (including fifteen victories), would mean the fans would act like they've been there before. "Riot after a title? Please. Wake me up when they six-peat." But seriously, we're watching East L.A. burn to the ground over this? You'd like to think some bandwagon Lakers fans could handle a championship with the cool, calm, collected demeanor of a Bill Russell.

5. Thinks Del Harris is the name of a fluffer from a Ron Jeremy set.

Now while Kurt Rambis was technically the interim and previous coach before Phil Jackson, Harris reigned over the Shaq/Kobe teams of the late 90's. While the Lakers consistently made the playoffs, and could usually get out of the first round, they always would get crushed by the Spurs or Jazz in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. "Oh, what's this? Malone's going to set up a high screen and roll for Stockton?" While I don't blame Del Harris for these failures per se, it's good to see that Jackson's nine seasons with the Lakers has led to six NBA Finals appearances, with four rings to show for it. Also, the next time someone tells you that Phil Jackson can only win with superstars, you should point out how Doug Collins in Chicago and Del Harris in Los Angeles presided over the same teams for several seasons and this whole winning thing is not as easy as it sounds. (Isn't it troubling to know that Del Harris has as many Coach of the Year honors as Phil Jackson? Shudder.)

6. Asks Shaq how his ass tastes after the 2009 NBA Finals.

There is no doubt the most recent championship was a huge milestone for Kobe's illustrious career, as well as eliminating the doubt he couldn't win a title without Shaq. But c'mon guys. The Big Fella was such an enormous part of the three-peat in the earlier part of the decade, and you have to tip your hat to how great he was in the Purple and Gold. His jersey will be in the rafters at Staples Center, and that's exactly where it belongs. I for one, am excited by the prospect of Cleveland's Danny Ferry finally pulling the trigger to trade for The Big Aristotle and seeing a Shaq v. Kobe 2010 NBA Finals. I'm sure ESPN will remain level-headed throughout that hypothetical contest.

There you have it. Some excellent criteria to determine if someone you know is a bandwagon Lakers fan. It was always funny to me growing up during the Randy Pfund and Del Harris coached years, and having people tell me how much the Lakers sucked. Then when they became unstoppable, I was the bandwagon fan! Nobody seemed to have beef with me being a Dodgers fan this entire time.

Now is the part where you can talk in the comments section about how Kobe is a rapist and Phil Jackson can't win without superstars. You can also tell me these things at a bar if you ever see me. Just be prepared to tell me who K.C. Jones is if you're a Celtics fan. Go Lakers.


  1. The bandwagoners in Southern California give sports in that region of the country a bad name. One of the main reasons I hate sports teams from that area.

  2. It's tough being a Knicks fan...if only Phil Jackson came to coach the Knicks instead of the devil (Isiah Thomas)...

  3. I gotta say, I really enjoyed the "Kobe doing work" movie. Kobe talking about basketball was highly facinating to me.

    Nice stuff fellas

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