Essay: Trolling Lakers Fans
Thank you, Lakers fans.
Thank you for allowing those of us who aren’t Lakers fans to feel superior because of your superiority, and your massive inferiority complex as a result. Some of you are really decent folks, just like all franchises who condescend to share various professional leagues with the proles in flyover country. I’m sure there are solid Cowboys fans out there, and a couple of my buddies root for the Yankees without that disgusting eminence that sticks like a pack-a-day smoker who refuses to puff outside. But these are just blips on a radar of emotional malignancy. The only surgery I can provide is to troll you, and see if even the title, and this very sentence, escapes your reptilian responses.
Thank you for your tweets, Laker fans. These days they’re like listening to the end of the world enthusiasts who soap box around Times Square, and always make me feel like reading Deuteronomy as I’m giggling to sleep (the desert was swell, thank you, now lets get to living vicariously by watching our favorite players spray champagne on Craig Sager in the locker-room). Every morning, after a loss, I stop and ponder your tweets and marvel at the way you’ve created an identity that’s so interwoven with the Lakers you’d think your fecal matter was a perfect cylinder of purple and gold. Basketball isn’t your life, the Lakers are, and their endless operatic fodder for media outlets is the crack cocaine of your existence. Possibly of all basketball fans’ existence. Because, you see, you help all of us feel better about ourselves, and for some really downtrodden fans your Will to Power (careful, Kobe might make Ubermensch his new Facebook moniker if he ever reads Nietzsche) makes us feel superior ourselves. And so the circle is completed.
The same way a bourgeois dandy looking around nervously in my Kingsland Avenue bodega allows me a small chuckle at their flustered interaction with my lower income neighbors, so do your endlessly entertaining eruptions of woe on Twitter after a single loss. Or more accurately–this year at least–three straight losses. You’ve all the money in the world with that television deal; Mitch Kupchak might as well be a Dickens character named Spend Thrift. But it’s not the money or the acclaim of your loaded, and now lame, starting lineup that really brings the rest of us joy; it’s the entitlement. When you were either born into Lakerdom (probably the one group of fans that’s not quite so pampered) or–more likely–inherited that fandom when your still maturing mind lapped up a chance to (almost) always root for a winner, you became like a petulant Lord in Feudal England. Your fandom is unimpeachable, even if it started yesterday, and celebrating championships on a semi-annual basis, is now your birthright.
So while most of the rest of us watch our teams toil in mediocrity with brief bursts of brilliance, acutely aware of the right combination of luck and smarts it takes to win an NBA championship, a Super Bowl, a Stanley Cup, or a World Series, you sit content in your Pacific side bungalows telling everyone else to “eat cake.” While this season hasn’t exactly been a Reign of Terror, it’s at least served as a notice of sorts. You’re just like the rest of us, prone to failing expectations and lackadaisical management. Your team’s executives even inherited your own foolish impulsivity with the firing of Mr. Brown and hiring of Mr. D’Antoni. This last part has to be the worst thing of all: that you’re not special, just for being a Lakers fan. That all the “haters” are sometimes right, or at the very least empirically accurate about what’s in front of them. That you’re capable of rooting for a loser, but that’s probably temporary.
You will always be attached to the maw of the Buss family. There’s nothing quite as delightful as the excess of success, except for the people in the 300 seats in [Cleveland, Milwaukee, Toronto, Atlanta, Orlando, Minnesota, Phoenix et al] who get to watch–cackling in delight–when it runs out. Maybe we’re not so different from you, Lakers fans, we’re just as amused and unrepentant by our overt schadenfreude every time Kobe misses a defensive rotation. Maybe if you keep dropping games, and then you drop games for the next decade, maybe, just maybe, we won’t feel like a Bolshevik silently loathing the tsar that feeds us a .500 record and a trip to be eliminated in the first round.
But I doubt it. You’ll be there until the money runs out, and that’s not happening anytime soon. You’ll re-tool this offseason, and Kobe will reach 5 million followers on Twitter before 2013 is up. You’ll be back to pretending excellence is your right, as Lakers fans. We’ll all go back to despising you, while at the same time jealous of all that winning. You see, we wish we were Lakers fans too, but we’ve got our souls to think about, and everyone knows Faust had season tickets at the Forum.