Anti-Lakers Sentiment Rampant Through NBA Fans
RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
The Orlando Magic won their first game of the NBA Finals last night. The Magic made a finals record 62.5 percent of their shots and beat the Los Angeles Lakers 108-104. The win narrowed L.A.'s lead in the series to two games to one. And that's good news for NBA fans who hate the Lakers. NPR's Tom Goldman is here with more on the anti-Lakers phenomenon.
TOM GOLDMAN: Being in Los Angeles, it seemed like the perfect place to explore the well of animosity, not just in my inbox, but throughout NBA Nation, where Beat L.A. is a common war cry. Sure, I was in Lakers territory, but in a city that big, I figured I could find someone who could explain the phenomenon in a calm, nuanced way.
STEVE PERRIN: I taught my daughter to say Kobe's a punk when she was two.
GOLDMAN: Needing a little more detachment for my Lakers hatred investigation, I turned to another blogger. Henry Abbott writes the TrueHoop blog on ESPN.com. He says the loathing has to do with economics. Like the Yankees of baseball, the Lakers have tons of money and can spend it to buy the most expensive free agents. He says it also has to do with style, which Abbott traces back to the show time Lakers of the 1980s led by Magic Johnson.
HENRY ABBOTT: They just sort of have this determination to be a showy team, you know, to be like the entertainment team.
GOLDMAN: Although during last year's NBA Finals, Abbott couldn't help thinking the stereotype of some Lakers fans was true. The Lakers had just lost a home game to Boston, and Abbott found himself in a VIP elevator at Staples Center.
ABBOTT: (Soundbite of song, "I love L.A.")
RANDY NEWMAN: Unidentified Group: We love it.
NEWMAN: Unidentified Woman #1: Denzel Washington arrived on a subway-themed red carpet at "The Taking Pelham 1 2 3" premiere super early, and then headed to the star-studded Lakers game.
GOLDMAN: Unidentified Woman #2: Kanye West, Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo on a date and, of course, die- hards Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson.
GOLDMAN: Surely, the perception of flighty fans and thus a flighty team would be a lot different if the cameras showed people like 55-year-old Los Angeles native Edward Chavez. He was carrying a pro-Lakers placard outside Staples Center before game two.
EDWARD CHAVEZ: In my life, sir, there's always been four loves. There's been God in my life, my wife, my baby and then Lakers. I love the Lakers. When I see the Lakers, it just gets butterflies down my neck. It's also, spiritually, I feel I got the Laker drive, which means I'm energetic to keep on going.
GOLDMAN: Tom Goldman, NPR News.
MONTAGNE: And you are listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.