Growing up in sunny Southern California in the 1980’s there was only one choice for me as a basketball fan, the Los Angeles Lakers. It was a great way for me to bond with my dad. He loved to watch the Lakers. In fact, my whole family were Lakers fans from my parents, to aunts and cousins.
The 1980’s team was like no other for me. I mean how could anyone in LA like anyone else. The 80’s Los Angeles Lakers had Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Pat Riley, Byron Scott, James Worthy, Michael Cooper.
My all time favorite Laker was Magic Johnson. I had memorabilia from the team like t-shirts and posters. For a girlie girl like me to have basketball posters was not heard of. Through all of Magic Johnson’s controversy when he first came out as being HIV positive, it did not stop me from being a fan. I was a kid and just learning about adult issues like cheating spouses and all the other ways of the world. I figured, who am I to judge him especially for his wife to stand by him and continue to be married to him. I knew it was not my place.
Magic Johnson went from being my favorite Los Angeles Laker to my favorite entrepreneur. An all around kind of man. Owning the Magic Johnson Theatre to Fridays and then to the Los Angeles Dodgers. I always make sure my kids know who he is.
Then there is the some of the late 90’s new Lakers. Like Derek Fisher & Rick Fox.
Don’t forget about the dynamic duo Shaq and Kobe.
Ok. Some of you maybe asking yourself. Why didn’t she list Kobe & Shaq first. Well, let me answer that question right now.
Kobe wasn’t my fave when he first started. I thought he had all the skill and no graceful attitude. It wasn’t until I got to understand more of who he is & why he does what he does. I understood that it is apart of his mindset of being “in the zone” on the court. So I stopped judging him for it.
With all the greatness of the Los Angeles Lakers. I had no need to even think about liking any other team. It was totally unheard of for me. Yes, I may have like individual players for whatever they may have attributed to their team. But, I can say I didn’t like the whole team.
Los Angeles had another team though, the Los Angeles Clippers. As a kid I did not like them. It was unheard of. Always in the shadow of the Lakers, I never thought it would be in reverse.
Having two sons and both of them very involved in watching basketball. I did not think I would have to do much to explain who my team was. They had already become fans of Magic Johnson and James Worthy. A dream come true. Until, my son told me his favorite team wasn’t the Lakers.
He went as far as saying he liked the ultimate betrayal, the Los Angeles Clippers. Well, ok he said he like Blake Griffin and CP3 (Chris Paul). His actual favorite team is none other than Golden State Warriors.
His favorite player is Stephen Curry. Which is not bad. I will have to admit. I like him too. In fact, I will say I like the whole team.
Not because they won a championship. But, I can respect the way the play as a team overall. They show determination accompanied with skill and the most important thing, team work.
I was just asked if I ever moved from LA what team am I going to route for? Well, the answer to that would be the LA Lakers or the Golden State Warriors. They are both California teams. I respect one and the other I am learning to respect. The Los Angels Lakers will always be my team. However, the “new age” Los Angeles Lakers have to earn my respect as a team. I think they have a lot of learing to do to work better as a team. I hope they will listen to the wise words of advice of Kobe Bryant before he leaves at the end of this season.
(Photo Credits: Kobe & Shaq: sportingnews.com; 1985 Team Photo: complex.com; Derek Fisher: vibe.com; Rick Fox: wikipedia.com; Golden State Warriors: nba.com)