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Aw Heck
05-05-2004, 05:03 PM
No love for Laker fans (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page3/story?page=lakerfans/040505)

No love for Laker fans

By Matthew Graham
Special to Page 3

In L.A., celebrity protocol reigns supreme. If Ashton Kutcher wears a Von Dutch hat, I have to be ripped off for $50 to keep pace. If Paris Hilton has a crummy, little rat dog, every trendy lunch spot has to cater to these creepy little canines like they're British royalty.


Jack Nicholson's been courtside at Lakers games from waaay back in the day. True fan.Nowhere is this need to fit in with the cool kids more obvious than with the Los Angeles Lakers during their annual playoff run.

I have to be tortured every year, as the big names come out of the woodwork pretending to care about the only franchise in L.A. that matters. Denzel, Sly, Leo, Tobey, Ashton and Demi, Will and Jada, the young studs from "The OC," Cameron and Justin, and of course king Jack, all flock to the Staples Center for their complimentary courtside seats that they'll never pay a penny for.

(For the record, I truly believe that Jack is an actual diehard Laker fan, unlike the rest of them. However, Jack is part of the problem, not the solution. If Jack were David Hasselhoff, maybe being a Laker fan wouldn't be so damn cool.)

These A-Listers are a bunch of frauds. I adore Denzel Washington, the Oscar-winning actor, but Denzel "The Laker Fan" ... I despise. Notice that he's always wearing a Yankees cap as well. Let me guess, his favorite football team is the Cowboys. Please. If you want me to take you seriously as a sports fan, you have to like a team that's not so fashionable (unless of course you grew up in L.A., which is never the case).

Bill Murray, from Chicago, always shows his love for the Cubs. Always. He wouldn't be caught dead rooting for a team that wears purple and gold!

Ben Affleck, who couldn't act his way through a high school play, at least shows some real heart for his Sox. Although I'll never forgive him for wasting a seat in last year's classic Yankees-Red Sox playoff series on J. Lo.

Billy Crystal. Now there's a celebrity sports fan I admire. A native New Yorker; he was a Yankees follower even during the dark years when Don Mattingly was their only good player. Then when he had to spend some quality time in L.A. to make movies, he became a Clippers fan! (Note: For all you celebrities that want sports fans like me to take you seriously, follow Crystal's lead.)

Can we really forgive Ben for wasting that seat in last year's classic Yankees-Red Sox playoff series on J. Lo?I wouldn't get so frustrated if the celebrities were the only ones ill-informed, fair-weathered and vacant. It's like deciding on political issues based on Barbra Streisand's philosophy. It doesn't matter that she's crazy, but it's disturbing when people listen.

Same thing with the Lakers.

I watch every Laker game with my boys, who are the rare real deal. As Laker Fans, they hate Laker fans. Game 2, we're sitting next to this idiot at the bar. He keeps *****ing about how they have to take Karl Malone out because he's just too old.

Game 4. Same bar. Same moron. Malone goes for 30. Guess who's now his biggest fan. "I told you he still had game," he declares. We've gone to the same bar all year to watch Laker games, and this guy, wearing a Von Dutch hat, Gucci sunglasses (indoors, no less) and a white wife-beater, has coincidentally only started showing up for the playoffs. Where's that deadly ball and chain weapon from "Kill Bill Vol. 1" when you need it?

I know, jumping on the bandwagon happens in every town. True. But try pretending to be a die-hard Eagles fan in Philly. Or Boston. Or Chicago. They'd skin you alive.

You can join the bandwagon, but you'd better keep your damn mouth shut.

Not in Tinseltown. Any loser wannabe can become a Laker fan overnight. And this is where celebrities must take full blame. They treat the Lakers like any trendy accessory. It's like the slick vintage jacket you only wear once every year, but you pull it out on the night when you actually think you might get lucky at the bar.

"Man on Fire" or man on the fence? Denzel loves to wear his Yankees hat to the Laker games.During the regular season, unless I'm playing ball at the Hollywood YMCA, there's no talk about the Lakers. Even with the Kobe fiasco, not a peep from the beautiful people. As soon as the playoffs hit, suddenly every model/actress/singer becomes Jerry West.

I attended the NBA Legends Viewing party for Game 3 of the Lakers-Rockets series. Every beautiful person there claimed to bleed purple. The game, on large screen TVs everywhere, was a nuisance. In fact, the sound was muted so a DJ could bust out some tunes.

Even Michael Cooper, a Laker legend, seemed more in tune with the ladies flirting with him than the game. The only time these L.A. "fans" checked out the game was when they were killing time at the bar, waiting for their free vodka tonics.

"Laker fans are so fake," agrees "Malcolm in the Middle"'s Frankie Muniz, a Clippers season ticket holder for seven years. "They're like every other fair weather fan out there. Like Shaq, who's 7-foot-3, will be wide open and barely jump and dunk the ball, and everybody goes crazy as if he just did a 360 dunk through his legs. That annoys me."

Good point Frankie, but here's the problem: If Muniz ever makes the leap and becomes a big-time movie star, he'll become a Laker fan. His agent will force him. It's just part of the Hollywood landscape.

I know what you might be saying ... the Knicks are just as bad. Spike Lee, P. Diddy, Woody Allen, Jay Z.

Here's my counter. Like Jack, Spike Lee, Jay Z, and Woody Allen are at every game, not just playoff games.

Secondly, there's plenty of rich and powerful people besides celebrities who can actually afford those ridiculously expensive courtside seats.

Thirdly, they're actually from New York. And most importantly, and this I can't emphasize enough, the Knicks never win. When Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller scorched the Knicks year after year, Spike Lee was still talking smack for his battered boys in blue. That's a true fan.

Being a fan means misery and heartache, and Knicks fans, even the celebrities, have experienced plenty. Look, even when the Lakers lose, like they did to the Spurs last year, it's still sunny and 80 degrees everyday of the year in L.A. It's a win-win situation for the beautiful people.

Stallone thinks he's "Sly" ... wearing a golden yellow shirt to the game. It's not working, dude.I have a simple solution to this dilemma. While I would love to ban celebrities from Laker games, I know that's part of the Tinseltown charm. It's our identity.

The Lakers are "Showtime." They are Hollywood. This year proved that. The drama surrounding this year's team was better than any movie script in town. That I can handle. However, for all the wannabe Denzels, Ashtons, Camerons, and Will Smiths who infest this town like cockroaches when playoff time comes around, you have to take a Laker aptitude test. I'm not talking brain surgery. In fact, Jim Harrick's son could create the questions.

If you get a perfect score, no matter how much I hate your player outfit, you're allowed to watch the games and comment within reasonable discretion (unless, of course, you have a rat dog, then you automatically fail).

If you pass, you're allowed to watch the games, but just like any bandwagoner in any town across America, you must keep your mouth shut. It's bad enough you're crowding up my bar.

If you fail, not only can you not come to my bar, but you must leave Los Angeles, vowing never to return. Because let's face it, Luke Walton has a better chance of putting up a triple double than you do of actually making it in this town.

I think that's fair. It's an easy test, and after this measure passes on the ballot in the next California election (because that's easy to pull off), we could rid ourselves of the Brad Pitt look-alikes (a.k.a. the most annoying fans on the face of the planet) and open up bar space to those Laker Fans that actually care.

Then again, it would probably rid L.A. of all the Cameron Diaz and Britney look-alikes as well. Hmmm, whole Laker fan plan needs to be rethought.

Matthew Graham is a disgruntled Eagles fan who writes for FHM and Cosmo. He can be reached at matthewgraham17@hotmail.com.

Pig Nash
05-05-2004, 05:15 PM
That's awesome. I completely agree and i like Muniz even more than i used to. I didn't know he was a clips fan.

Suaveness
05-05-2004, 05:21 PM
Thank you.

ChicagoJ
05-05-2004, 06:01 PM
Thirdly, they're actually from New York. And most importantly, and this I can't emphasize enough, the Knicks never win. When Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller scorched the Knicks year after year, Spike Lee was still talking smack for his battered boys in blue. That's a true fan.

Being a fan means misery and heartache, and Knicks fans, even the celebrities, have experienced plenty. Look, even when the Lakers lose, like they did to the Spurs last year, it's still sunny and 80 degrees everyday of the year in L.A. It's a win-win situation for the beautiful people.

-snip-

However, for all the wannabe Denzels, Ashtons, Camerons, and Will Smiths who infest this town like cockroaches when playoff time comes around, you have to take a Laker aptitude test. I'm not talking brain surgery. In fact, Jim Harrick's son could create the questions.

If you get a perfect score, no matter how much I hate your player outfit, you're allowed to watch the games and comment within reasonable discretion (unless, of course, you have a rat dog, then you automatically fail).

If you pass, you're allowed to watch the games, but just like any bandwagoner in any town across America, you must keep your mouth shut. It's bad enough you're crowding up my bar.

If you fail, not only can you not come to my bar, but you must leave Los Angeles, vowing never to return.


That summarizes my feelings on bandwagon jumpers pretty well.

Shade
05-05-2004, 07:29 PM
Thank God, finally, a writer with the balls to write what I've been saying FOREVER. I have a new hero. :bowdown:

Doug
05-05-2004, 10:07 PM
This is the one thing I'm not looking forward to if the Pacers become some kind of perennial champion.

Bandwagon jumpers. Those Bulls, Lakers fans that we all love to hate. They show up, talk their smack, and you know they weren't a fan of whoever last year.

We'll have them too. And it will suck. Imagine 100,000 dancing harrys. <shudder>

indytoad
05-05-2004, 10:15 PM
I dunno, the Spurs are perennial champions/contenders and they don't have a whole lot of bandwagoners. I don't think it'll ever be fashionable to be a big fan of something from a pretty nondescript city like Indy or SA.

IndyToad
That's the end

bulletproof
05-05-2004, 10:47 PM
Thank God, finally, a writer with the balls to write what I've been saying FOREVER. I have a new hero. :bowdown:


Oh, I see... you're just a Matthew Graham bandwagoner.

Mr. Pink
05-06-2004, 12:52 PM
I can never take a person serious around here when they say they are a Lakers fan.

They only like them because they are Three Time Champions. If they had lost each year like the Pacers and/or the Kings...I wouldn't even hear about them talking about the Lakers. Makes me sick when people are like that.


I catch smack all the time about Webber being a baby and that he sucks. Or that the Kings are going to blow it again. Yadda yadda yadda.

All I do is reply with, "I don't care. I love them win or lose."

That's all I can say, till they win a Title.


Sactolover