These Times Separate the “Fakes” From the “Trues”

Most Lakers fans have glimpses of the mediocre ball club during the middle years of the 2000 decade. Losing seasons, bad players and of course ― Smush Parker.

During debates and arguments Lakers fans tend to avoid the post-Shaq era that bestowed the city of Los Angeles, and for good reason. There wasn’t much positive to talk about the team expect for the prolific scoring outings by Kobe Bryant and the usually star-studded Staples Center crowd. The glitz, the glamor and the excitement were no longer apart of Laker basketball and the city was dying for another championship team.

During this era of the franchise’s history, many fans jumped off the bandwagon and did not want to be known as the person in society that supported the lower, or lesser-skilled squad. Just like in the real world were humans tend to drift away from the “outsiders” and follow the ones that are elite and “well-mannered,” sports fans have a penchant of supporting the best team.

The Lakers were nowhere near an upper echelon squad in this time, and let’s face it, the franchise lost many fans because of their early-playoff exits. The once excitable Staples Center arena was no longer a hostile environment, and might I say, only the “real” Lakers fans attended the games. The other fakes were off watching their new favorite teams like the Nets, Suns and Spurs shine in the NBA Playoffs, while the former Laker players were right there watching it with them.

Not surprisingly, when the Lakers finally became relevant in the NBA in the year 2008, all of a sudden a myriad of Lakers “fans” once again supported the team. Those who claimed to have sided with the Lakers during their dark days were the ones who bragged when the Spurs or Suns made deep-playoff runs just a few years back. Just because the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol and reclaimed the top-seed in the Western Conference, the once empty Staples Center was filled with self-proclaimed “true-fans.”

Nevertheless, deep inside the mind of the band-wagoner lives the dreadful truth that he or she had left the Lakers after they had lost their edge, and supported a more “talented” ball-club. While the other true Lakers fans stuck by the team through thick and thin and had faith the squad will once again shine in the NBA, thousands of front runners stormed in with ill-conceived notion that they were always with the team.

I applaud the fans who never abandoned the Lakers when they were once fighting for a lottery pick. These “true” supporters were faithful to the team, and never lost hope in Kobe Bryant or Dr. Jerry Buss.   These fans believed in the Lakers and did not let obstacles on the road influence whom they claimed to be their favorite teams.

Every team and every movement  in history has seen setbacks and disappointment along the way, but their resiliency and sheer determination allowed them succeeded and find a way to the top of the mountain.

Despite impediments along their way, the Revolutionists eventually gained their independence from the British; although the Civil Rights Movement lost momentum after assassinations to various leaders, it found a way to gain rights for its people; and even though the Los Angeles Lakers were a laughing stock in the NBA for several seasons, fans’ support paid off when the team won two consecutive champions. Now I don’t mean to compare the Lakers’ success to the great accomplishments of the Revolutionists and Civil Right Movement, but all of these examples featured supporters who stayed true to the cause despite setbacks.

These people had faith.

“Fake” fans can gloat all they want, and they can defend themselves to the best of their abilities, but leaving a team in tough times is not the correct way to show “faith.” The Lakers now face the same situation as they faced in the 2004, to a lesser degree obviously. Nevertheless, the team is undergoing problems and will most likely have to make changes which will results in a loss of fans.

These times separate the “fake” fans from the “real” fans. Those who will stop supporting the team since they lost Game 4 in embarrassing fashion and relinquished hopes of a three-peat, are considered the band-wagoners, while the fans that stick around for the tough times should be praised for their faith.

User Yash commented on a previous post, “I am done being a Lakers fan, I spent countless hours supporting them and in return all I got was happiness. This is just SAD.” This ex-Lakers fan has most likely already purchased his or her own Derrick Rose jersey and has long forgotten his or her time being a Lakers fan.  However, user Ktheevilgenius has a mindset which is the antithesis to the one held by Yash. “True fans stick with there teams no matter what.” Says Ktheevilgenius. “[They] ride or die with them ’till the end.”

Now that the Lakers’ dynasty seems to have ended, there will be a drastic change in the size of the team’s fan-base. However, don’t be surprised to see the “fake” fans come storming back if the Lakers make another championship run next season.

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