For me, though, this neutral approach just makes the most sense.
Now, if it’s a close game, you’d better believe you’ll still catch me jumping up and down in my living room cheering for a Lakers “W” because it’s in my nature to want the team to win the game that’s live and right in front of me. If I were to get hit by a bus later on that night, I’d die happy knowing that the Lakers pulled out a close, overtime victory over a hated rival. I certainly wouldn’t be thinking, “Well, I’m dying happy because the Lakers lost tonight and the chances of us getting a player who may or may not impact the franchise in a significant manner at a future date just got boosted by a half-game in the tank standings.”
Basically, if I’m watching a game, I can’t pull myself root against my team or root for the other team to win.
Similarly, I can’t envision a season ticket holder who’s attending every home game rooting against the team they’re paying big bucks to see. Essentially, they are paying to see the players go out on the court and perform at a high level.
On the other side of the coin, the Tankers are thinking in the sense of the bigger picture, so getting upset at a win isn’t exactly “wrong,” either. However, imagine if a member of this group has deep family roots with the Lakers. In 100 years from now if his or her great grandchild were to get ahold of an old home video of their great grandparent in the living room rooting against the Lakers, that poor child would be extremely confused.
My approach is simply to be mindful of the standings and understand the importance of the pick. I want us to get the pick, and understand that losses will get us closer to that pick. But I’m also going to support the players as they still don purple and gold jerseys and play hard for the team I love.
This medium is also where Magic Johnson appears to stand as well. Earlier this season, he famously stated that he hoped the Lakers would lose every game this in order to secure a good pick. Following that statement, he clarified his statement by saying although he stood by him wanting the Lakers to get the best pick out there, he still loves to see the team succeed:
Laker Nation: Don’t forget that I’m the biggest Lakers fan and despite what I said I still want the Lakers to do well!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) December 13, 2014
The season has been tough and has certainly put Lakers fans through the ringer, and divided them in many ways. There really isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to watch these games, nor should anybody feel bad for what they’re rooting for during any given ballgame.
We all want the same thing — for the Lakers to be successful — but because this is a season in which we are not all rooting for a common championship goal, and there are variables involved, everyone is going to prioritize what’s important to them and approach the games differently.
With the season winding down, we’ll all get a better indication of what the future holds, soon.[divide]
Kobe Bryant On Lakers Future: NBA Free Agency, Any Draft Prospects?