By: Victor Ng
I commend the loyal fan base of the Los Angeles Lakers. But where there is success and where there are championships, there is also the bandwagon. You see, a true fan sticks with his or her team whether they are enjoying the greatest of successes, or falling to a pitiful plummet of a lost, doomed season. And the fandom of the Los Angeles Lakers has never been tested as much as it is in this day. After being swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs of the previous season, Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles, and Dwight Howard decided to take his talents to Houston, the Lakers of the 2013 – 2014 campaign were left with many relatively unknown characters — and even less hope of contending for a title. Xavier Henry? Shawne Williams? And what happened last season? We were supposed to topple the Big Three of Miami with a Big Three of our very own and win a 17th championship. But all of that does not matter.
A true fan is one who sees his team through to the end regardless of preseason, midseason, or postseason rankings, who supports his head coach, and the players currently on the roster regardless of production. These utterances of “Fire D’Antoni!” and “Steve Nash should just retire,” infuriate me to no end. This organization has won 16 championships and 31 Western Conference titles over their entire existence —- that’s the second most championships in all of basketball. I think this front office knows what they are doing. Perhaps it is the emotions and the rush of blood to the fans’ heads (when they themselves are personally irritated by the lack of W’s) which drive these irrational, immature exclamations. I’ve even seen them directed at the beloved, future Hall-of-Famer Pau Gasol, who I personally hope has his jersey retired. In the early goings of the season, Gasol showed another decrease in his numbers and a general lack of productivity. Fans, via top comments on the Lakers Nation Facebook page, immediately demanded trades for this high-contracted, versatile, offensive beast. January rolls around and Gasol begins averaging a very aggressive double-double and the fans praise him.
The nature of a lot of bandwagon fans and fans who say they are “true Laker fans” is to be elated when we win, and to act as if we were in the front office making these demanding decisions when we lose. But don’t misunderstand me: I wasn’t in favor of bringing in Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson, when the firing of Mike Brown came along. I wanted the Zen Master back more than anything! But Coach D’Antoni is the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers now, and true fans will stick by him until he leaves. True fans will encourage a player of this esteemed organization to do everything they can to return to the court because that determination and grit represent so much of what this organization has been and is about (look at Kobe!). True fans will laud the players that brought them from the 7th seed to three straight NBA Finals runs, no matter how they currently perform. If you are actually a true Lakers fan, show it; don’t undermine this organization by showing a lack of unity between the fans and the team. This isn’t Boston.
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