Sunday, May 23, 2004

Don't hate the player, hate the town.

How long have you hated (or disliked) the Lakers?

What triggered your hate/dislike?

What would it take for you to become a fan or non-hater, or a fan again? 

I was born in France, raised in Boston, and can honestly say that neither French or English have the proper term to describe how I feel about the Lakers. "Hate" isn't the right word. The best way I could describe it is to go back to when I was trying to pick up English and would get the wording all wrong..."I not do enjoy them, no?"....

    I don't know how it is in other towns, but anyone who is someone other than the Celtics is no one. This childish attitude is offset by the miraculous transformation that previously nefarious athletes go through when Boston trades for them. Johnny Most was good at this, but the hockey fans have it down better. Ken Linseman was having beers thrown at him on Sunday, and having beers bought for him when he was traded here Monday.

    I could never root for the Lakers, unless the Taliban got a team together. I feel the same way about the Sixers, Knicks and Bulls. If they were to play each other, I would root for Chicago to beat Philly, Philly to beat New York, New Yawk to beat the Lakers, and the Lakers to beat the Taliban. Most Bostonians would fall in line with that order. I would probably get into NASCAR or something if a NY/LA series happened.

    For a Hater, the Lakers have several things working against them. They personify stereotypical California- stars, sunshine, and flash. They have 4 superstars when most teams have one at best. Jack Nicholson goes to their games. You can leave a game in February and go surfing. Even your natural disasters have a disproportionate chance of shaking a Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Tom Cruise into your lap. Meanwhile, I did high school cheerleading in mittens.

    Shaq- who has never been in legal trouble, respects the older players(he never did that silly post-dunk staredown thing to Robert  Parish), works with charities, was raised in a strict military family, and who seems a rather humble and respectable person- somehow makes a tremendous Goliath. He is huge, talented and agile, and is the dominant feature in any game he is in. It is impossible not to sympathize with whoever has to play him.

    Speaking of which, Kobe is not unlike many men one comes across in Renaissance paintings. He is an Adonis in baggy shorts. He most likely didn't need college, may not need Shaq, and certainly doesn't need you or me. He was as good as it gets at 19. He speaks fluid Italian. He has a silly name, and is able to cheat on a girl who could seduce a gay Pope. He grew up travelling the world with his NBA dad. Then he got the Chape Rarge, and he was somehow even less likable. Maybe 5 people on Earth could actually relate to this man. He's a 6'8" black Kennedy, with a Ghetto Pass.

    If Payton or Malone actually had a pair, they'd have gone East to stock up a team that might challenge the Lakers. The NBA has been pretty good to GP and Karl, and it seems that the least they could do in return was to see that Boston goes into the playoffs over .500 or so. Instead, they work cheap to ride Shaq's jock. LA and Boston needed a point guard and a power forward last summer- we got Gin Baker and Mike James. Life's fair.

    Despite all this, I would miss the Fakers if they weren't around. There were some damn good games played between them and my boys, and I hope to see a few more before my time here passes.

Kobe Bryant

High Above Courtside...

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