Lakers Fans, Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I did something over the weekend that I’m not proud of. I allowed a few idiots to get under my skin on Twitter. They decided to take our conversation to the gutter and instead of either ignoring them or trying to keep things civil, I allowed myself to stoop to their level.

It all started when I wrote my open letter to Kobe Bryant last week. The premise of the letter was that I don’t feel there’s anyone left in the Lakers organization that is willing to be honest with Kobe and call him out when he’s playing selfish. So I took it upon myself to let it be known that the only thing stopping this team from tying the Boston Celtics with 17 championships is “Bad Kobe.” The one who goes four or five straight possessions chucking up horrible shots and then complains to the refs about nonexistent fouls when the man he should be guarding is making an uncontested lay-up while Kobe is still arguing with the officials.

To nobody’s surprise, the floodgates opened and I came face to face with the extreme wing of the Kobe Worshipers of the World. Some of them were willing to engage in a serious discussion where I was able to more thoroughly make my case and we could come to some mutual understanding. Others weren’t so civil. They let the smoke and steam coming out of their eyes, ears, and nose impair their vision and misinterpret what I wrote. Look folks. I’m willing to spend all the time I need to defend what I said. All I ask is you please don’t make me have to waste time arguing the things many of you just like to pretend I said.

I’m not an idiot because I think Kobe missing 200 of 287 three-point attempts last season is embarrassing. I’m not a nerd because I bring up that Kobe needed 23 shots to scored 29 points on 43 percent shooting. I’m not a moron because I didn’t mention that he played last season with a torn ligament in his wrist. To me that’s a much better reason for him not to have taken so many bad shots than it is a justification from a few of you as to why he missed so many.

But more than anything, I’m not a Kobe hater just because I’m willing to find fault in his game and admit it publicly. If a Kobe turnover cost the Lakers a playoff game, the way it did against OKC last season, I’m going to call him out for it. Nor am I going to pretend, that outside of maybe two halves, he played well for Team USA when he had the second-worst shooting percentage, led the team in fouls, and was the only player who averaged more than seven minutes per game to have more turnovers than assists.

But let’s not let facts get in the way. Let’s just keep pretending he’s the player he was when he was 27.

The good news is that the majority of the feedback I got between the comments section and Twitter was positive. But then there were people like the ones who started out the conversation by calling me an idiot and other not-so-nice names who I made the mistake of engaging with. The ones who thought it was cool to search the Internet for four-year old pictures of my wife and I and post them on Twitter.

Suddenly it went from funny to obscene.

My favorite part was when they all decided to talk about how immature I was and how I couldn’t handle constructive criticism as if calling me profane names on Twitter can be considered constructive criticism.

I’m not the only one it seems that has to deal with all this. Lakers legend and Hall of Famer James Worthy joined Twitter this past week and I won’t be surprised if he decides to close his account any minute now because the same people who consider themselves Lakers fans are mad that ‘Big Game’ James called Miami the team to beat.

Are there really people who call themselves Lakers fans using social media to attack James Worthy, the MVP of the 1988 NBA Finals, because he’s giving his honest opinion?

I will never back down from giving my honest opinion on the Lakers. Just because I’m not one of you who thinks that Kobe is better than Michael Jordan or is still the best player in the NBA doesn’t mean I’m a hater. I saw Michael Jordan play. Kobe can win 10 championships and he still won’t be better than Michael Jordan. That ship has sailed folks. It sailed a long time ago. This isn’t me trolling Kobe worshipers either. This is just me stating a fact.

Jerry West said it best, “Michael Jordan was the league’s best offensive and defensive player for 10 straight years.” Despite the coaches continuing to name Kobe to All-Defensive teams, Kobe hasn’t been an elite defender for at least five years.

I’ve been a Lakers season ticket holder since 1989. From Section 36 at The Forum to Section 332 at Staples Center. I was getting pulled out of school by my dad to go championship parades back in ’82, ’85, ’87 and ’88. I was in the building when the Lakers shocked Portland in 1991 and when they came back to beat them in 2000. I was there when Robert Horry hit the three-pointer that saved the series with Sacramento in 2002, when Kobe scored 81 against the Raptors, and when the Lakers beat the Celtics in Game 7 in 2010.

Feel free to question my opinion, just don’t question my credentials. I was raised on the brilliance of Magic Johnson and the real spit of Chick Hearn. So forgive me if watching Kobe ignore his teammates for long stretches of games makes me want to throw up.

I’ve lived and died with this team since before many of your parents were in junior high. I joked on Twitter that I was being treated like I broke the first rule of Fight Club, but in this case it was the Let’s Pretend Kobe Is Still The Best Player In The Game Club. Kobe currently has the greatest legacy of any player still active, but if you think he’s still better than LeBron James or Kevin Durant you should probably keep that opinion to yourself. Some of us Lakers fans don’t need you continuing to ruin our reputations. Rings are great. But if rings determine a players greatness then I guess Robert Horry is better than both Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.

I can critique Kobe without discrediting his past accomplishments. There’s plenty of ink on the Internet of me defending the role Kobe played on those first three championship teams. Just search for it. But I’ll be damned if I have to sit silent while Kobe resorts to hero ball while he’s got three Hall of Fame teammates alongside him. Nor will I keep my mouth shut if the Lakers have a chance to pass the Celtics while Dr. Buss is still alive and it’s Kobe who prevents it from happening.

It’s no secret that Kobe can be selfish. It’s no secret that he doesn’t have a lot of friends. Take a second and go to Google and enter “Derek Fisher Never” and tell me what the first auto suggestion is. Did you see it? So if I call Kobe selfish it’s meant in the sincerest way imaginable. He might be an a-hole but he’s our a-hole, and we love him no matter what. Being an a-hole is what made Kobe one of the greatest to ever lace them up.

I had the honor of being named to Yahoo!’s list of must follows on Twitter. Here’s what they wrote about me in their description:

Some Twitter feeds just stick out, and Drew’s is amongst that lot. He boasts a dry sense of humor, he’s quick with a quip on a re-tweet and his non-hoops related references are always appreciated. A Lakers fan in full, but a self-aware one. Or, as one member of BDL’s staff put it, “not a pain in the ass jerk like most of them.”

I couldn’t have been more proud of that description. I’m still mad for allowing myself to get upset and stoop down to the level of those “pain in the ass jerks” I try so hard to distance myself from on Twitter. I never wanted to be the guy who had to block people on but now I don’t have a choice.

I’m still here.

This season could be one of the most special in any of our lifetimes. Steve Nash is a Laker and Dwight Howard is a Laker. Still gives me chills. I try not to let myself even fantasize about what it would be like to see the look on Dr. Buss’ face if he manages to tie the Celtics when you consider they trailed Boston 13-6 in titles when he bought the Lakers. Think about that. So if I want Kobe to realize how much talent he is surrounded with because oftentimes he forgets, that doesn’t mean I’m a hater. It just means I want to see history made and I don’t want him standing in the way of it.

I hope that all makes sense.

Now I’m fully prepared for what’s about to show up in the comments section below. I’m determined to bite my lip and just sit idly by while the dimwitted who call themselves Lakers fans and question my fandom make fools of themselves behind fake aliases. If you don’t like my writing and you think I’m an idiot or if you can’t handle a fellow fan being critical of your favorite team, this might not be the place for you to shop.

It’s really just that simple.

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