Thursday, June 4, 2009

Laker Bandwagon Getting Full

All Aboard

The NBA playoffs are a lot like pregnancy. You are excited at first then after nine months you just want to get it over with. The interim is spent on the couch being all gassy.
What some sports would consider the length of a regular season, the NBA considers brief enough for a post season. And here we are at the tail end of it. After 40 games in 40 nights we now have two teams vying for the trophy.

Try as ESPN might to pit this as a Kobe vs. Dwight series, the crucial battle will come down to Lamar/Ariza vs. Turkoglu/Lewis. I guess I could go on spouting statistics and predictions, but I am little irked today.

You see whenever the Lakers make it deep in the playoffs, fair weather fans come out of the woodwork to glom onto the party train. It starts innocent enough, a Laker flag here and a mention of Kobe there. Sure we can all take pride in in DJ Mbenga's disproportionately small head. And yes we can all bask in the glory of Kobe's farts. But it ain't all gravy. Being a complete dork of a fan, I watch all season and revel in both the good and the outright stinky.

Most bandwagoners fail to realize that a little over two years ago Kobe Bryant was determined to run Andrew Bynum out of town. Purple and Gold morale was at an untimely low. The Lakers looked more like the pack that ran with Del Harris then those that capped off a three peat of titles earlier in the decade. There were no tacos at the end of games. A sigh and sense of a relief were our only reward.

Then it all started to come together. That Bynum kid was alright. The Lakers got some momentum going and a playoff berth seemed inevitable. Then tragedy hit. You don't know what it feels like when your young center goes down twice, in the same month, in consecutive years, to the same team. You feel jinxed, You feel doomed.
Then like a spanish Jesus Pau came to save the day. The he ruined the party by getting dunked on frequently in the finals last year. Look, you haven't spent game after game yelling at Lamar Odom for being a no show, then applauding his immense talent, in the same game! Maybe you have witnessed Pau and his offensive prowess. But I know you bandwagoners look away when he diminishes on the defensive end. I do not. I take it all in; every basket, every tech, every 20 point blow out, every 20 point drubbing.

So please forgive me if become a little annoyed at the person on the street wearing a Laker shirt today when yesterday they didn't know when the Finals started. I'm not saying you have to wear purple everyday, just be able to name the last second-round draft pick to start a playoff game for the Lakers. That will do.

There they are folks. They range in intimidation factor from hardened criminal to IT administrative assistant. Let's have fun!