Meant to post this a little while ago (got caught up with the game-tough loss..)
Most of this was just me putting my thoughts out there and seeing what you guys on CL think about new fans, like real, sincere fans. Not just bandwagoners who don't really watch for the right reasons. I didn't wanna clog up the LD page, but I really wanted to get this out there. Peace
Games like these between the Boston Celtics and the Lakers make me wish I got into basketball, specifically the Lakers, a lot earlier in my life. I was just reading something about the Lakers and the Celtics, which from what I can tell is probably the greatest rivalry in the history of all sports, and it made me think of the 2010 NBA Finals between LA and Boston, the first basketball playoff series I've ever seriously watched as a high school kid (I'm really late, I know). But I remember how great of a series that was, from Game 1 to Game 7. Living on the East Coast, almost everyone around here hates the Lakers so that was legitimately the first time I ever saw the Lakers play and win a championship. I was literally just flipping through channels, and I didn't even know there were NBA playoffs going on until I got to ABC and I saw Kobe hit this crazy fadeaway jump shot. I remember how awesome it was to watch this team. How stunning Kobe Bryant was with his moves and determination to win, his WILL to win. By Fisher's leadership. Lamar Odom's versatility as an athlete, Ron Artest with that clutch three to seal the title. Phil Jackson, the legend himself. The Triangle offense. And you know there was something unique about this team. As I see Kobe finish out the tail end of his career, I just wonder if these Lakers will be extraordinary to watch like so many die hard fans can attest to once he retires and seeing all of you on CL and all my other Laker fan friends, most people have been a fan at LEAST since the late 1990s or so. Some of you have over 20000, even 30,000 posts and that just shows how passionate you are about this team and how much you know about the game, the technicalities to the history of the Lakers.
Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, the Afro Kobe/Prime Shaq era...Yeah I've missed all that, so all I can do now is look up Youtube videos and get to know the Lakers history (I bought the "Complete History" NBA dynasty DVD series) and try to enjoy it 10 years later and pretend I know something about the Lakes. Picked up a few snapbacks, Kobe jerseys, championship shirts etc. And not only did I want more Lakers stuff but I wanted to represent my admiration for the team. But it's hard to accept I've missed so much of the history that's already been made. It distinguishes me from the other fans. Think about Kobe's other 4 rings in the early 2000s, Shaq's 3peat with Kobe, even the Showtime years. Not to mention all the dunks by Kobe when he was wearing that #8 jersey (don't worry, I saw his poster on Wallace and Kris Humphries the other day).
My point being: those are some once in a lifetime seasons. And I can't imagine how great it would have been to be a part of it as a fan. I don't know as much, and I haven't seen much except for the last few years. And it just bums me out because I love basketball so much, it's my favorite sport, and the Lakers are my favorite team. And Kobe is someone I seriously look up to. Sure, he's not as athletic or fast as he used to be, but man...His determination, his fearlessness, and ability to persevere and reach his goals without surrendering to fear or failure has only grown throughout the years. It's been quite something to see. I'm just appalled at how little respect people have for Kobe and the Lakers. Many people resort to Bryant's scandal during his years with Phil Jackson, but others criticize him for such absurd reasons. I mean, sure they win a lot (swept the Nets in 2003, where I live) BUT they play great, outstanding basketball, and they do it with class. Those who aspire to be great can learn from them. I read Sacred Hoops by Jackson and it shows how much more there is to the Triangle and basketball in general than most people can say. It takes a special group of guys to put together a championship team, that can win on multiple occasions and perform consistently, with power, force, speed, and IQ on a regular basis. That's something you have to respect.
I know it seems like I might be a "bandwagoner" but I really am not. I love cheering for the Lakers!! Through the good and the bad, it's worth it to remain loyal to the team you are a fan of. That's what sports is about, at least from a spectator's standpoint. Anywhos, right now I "bleed" purple and gold, no doubt about it. It would have been awesome to grow up around someone passionate about basketball and this franchise (like my Dad I wish! but he's a Knicks fan and he's too old to play me in our driveway court anymore ) and to just be part of the real, "die-hard" Laker fan base, growing up watching Laker games everyday, learning and finding inspiration from Kobe's example, from Phil Jackson, from the Lakers in general, as it happened in real time. Watching them win. Watching them fall short of the championship but come that much harder the next season with fierceness and see them win it all...Seeing how a team grows and flows on the court. And most of all just simply enjoying the game of basketball according to the Los Angeles Lakers. But man...I can't really complain. Ever since the first time I saw Lakers play I was inspired more than I thought I could be, even strengthened in a way. No doubt about it..
Thanks for reading (sorry if this should have been part of a larger thread ). Have a good night, all!