Regardless of who is playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, one thing that remains consistent is fans of the team overtaking opposing arenas. This season, with the huge number of potential Hall of Famers on the roster, that presence has been even greater.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel took note of it as the Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers. LeBron James, after a 39-point performance, received massive ovations from the Laker-friendly crowd in Indianapolis.
Vogel coached with the Pacers from 2007-11 as an assistant and from 2011-16 as the head coach, but never heard that amount of love for an opposing team.
He first credited the Pacers fanbase for their class in cheering on a special performance from James. “No, I wouldn’t like it if I was here coaching, but I would understand it. It’s just a special performance by a special player. That’s the class that these fans have.”
Vogel then turned his attention to Lakers fans, who have always done a remarkable job cheering on the team regardless of where they’re playing. “It gives us a big boost. It really does,” Vogel said.
“I’ve been on the other side of it where we have games here and there’s a lot of Chicago Bulls fans in here and half the arena is red and that’s difficult to play in your own building when a lot of fans are rooting against you. To have that on your side, it definitely gives us a boost.”
Lakers fans travel as well — if not better — than any fanbase in the NBA. This makes a five-game road trip like the one the Lakers just concluded slightly easier, as they know it won’t be a hostile environment in most games.
Vogel has been with the Pacers and the Orlando Magic, two of the smaller markets in the NBA. So to then jump to the Lakers is a completely different atmosphere, as they tend to overrun arenas like Indiana and Orlando when they’re in town.
L.A. had a home-heavy first month of the season, as 12 of their first 15 games were at Staples Center. Now, in December, they’ll play eight of 15 away from home, where hopefully their traveling fanbase is ready to greet them anywhere they go.
Malik Monk praises Lakers fans
Malik Monk — in his first season with the Lakers — praised the fanbase for making every game feel like a home game.
“Man, it’s always like that except for Madison Square [Garden],” Monk said. “It’s always a home game for us these road trips I’ve been on with the Lakers. It’s a great atmosphere to have. It lets you be more comfortable. It just lets you go out there and play your game.”
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