(Originally published on May 14, 2014)
It should come as no surprise that the Lakers have one of the largest fan bases in America. The team has appeared in The Finals 31 times, winning 16 NBA Championships. The franchise has also had the privilege of having stars such as Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, and Kobe Bryant to take the court representing the purple and gold.
The map (via the New York Times) is based upon each team’s number of likes on the social media website. Facebook. The map shows how the premier teams in the league — the Thunder, Spurs, Celtics, and Heat — dominate their respective areas in terms of the fan base.
They’re old and hobbled. They missed the playoffs, and Coach Mike D’Antoni resigned. But they’re still the most popular team in most of California, Nevada and New Mexico, as well as parts of the Midwest and Appalachia. The only team with anything approaching the Lakers’ appeal is the Heat, who have won the last two titles. The Heat control much of the Southeast, as well as southwest Ohio.
New York Times, May 14, 2014
What’s most interesting about the map is how many fans the Lakers have according to the Facebook Data. The Lakers dominate Southern California and are prominent in most states that boast no professional basketball team such as Nevada, Montana, and New Mexico.
For all the talk that the Clippers are becoming America’s team, this map proves that theory wrong. The Clipper’s name is not even mentioned on the map as the Lakers completely dominate the Los Angeles area.
For all those who thought fans would jump ship as the Lakers struggled are mistaken. Despite the Lakers enduring one of their worst seasons in franchise history, this map only proves that the team has one of the most loyal fan bases in America.