Home Is Where You Make It: Kobe Bryant, Brandon Jennings and Los Angeles

Conventional wisdom argues that the city will be eternally bitter Kobe has won five championships for the Lakers and not the Sixers.

The reality is that once an athlete is drafted by a team, he assumes the city’s hometown as his or her own. Take the recent Stanley Cup final between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins for example. One of the Bruins’ best players, Milan Lucic, was born in Vancouver, yet the Bruins’ faithful did not have any qualms cheering for a player born in the opposing team’s city, as he was now one of them.

An athlete’s hometown is of little-importance unless he or she is playing there. Few remember that Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn after he brought six world championships to Chicago. I can bet my life’s savings that even fewer Mavs’ fans cared that Dirk Nowitzki wasn’t even born in the United States of America, nevertheless their city, last June when he extinguished the Heat. And the final example may be the most blatant of them all. Boston Celtics guard Paul Pierce might be one of the most hated athletes in Los Angeles, yet Pierce grew up in L.A. as a fan of the Lakers.

When it comes to team sports it’s not about where you’re born, it’s about where you’re at and what you’ve done lately.

The ambiguity of an athlete’s home is one of the more mystifying ideas to accept in sports. But as a loyal sports fan, you throw away any previous allegiance you might have when you decide to support a team through thick and thin anyways.

What I’m really trying to say is with everything the Mamba has done for the City of Angels, while his birth certificate may not state he’s born in Los Angeles, he’s an honorary citizen in everyone’s book. Except, perhaps, for Brandon Jennings.

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