As Lakers fans, what are you most thankful for? Some of the Lakers Nation staff members weigh in on the topic.
Andrew Ungvari (@DrewUnga): There are a lot of things to be thankful for as a Lakers fan. So many that I could probably write a book and I’m not exaggerating. But for the purpose of this roundtable, I’m going to narrow it down to one that pretty much encompasses all of them. If I’m most grateful for anything, it’s that the owner of my favorite professional sports franchise wants to win as much as I do — perhaps even more. And as a devoted sports fan, that’s all I can ask for.
As sports fans we invest our time, energy, passion, and even our money into something at the expense of things that should really be much more important in our lives. Things like relationships, work, and even family. We do it in the hope that it will all be worth it. That the fight I got into with my wife because the game went into overtime and we’re going to be late will have been worth it. That the scolding you got from your boss because your work suffered because you couldn’t get over the Lakers losing to the Bobcats (again) will have been worth it. That the lack of sleep that has you struggling to get through a day because you were so jazzed by a win that you couldn’t fall asleep until 3 am wil will have been worth it.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. Believe me when I tell you that this city is never better than it is in the afterglow of a Lakers championship. It’s what Los Angeles would be at all times in a perfect world — a melting pot of people of all ethnicities, races, religions, incomes, and colors uniting over something that really is so much more than just the 12 guys repping our city scoring more points than the 12 guys repping that other city.
L.A. is a bumper to bumper city. Many of us rarely leave our own neighborhoods unless we have to. Many of us would never eat anything we couldn’t pronounce or get out of cars in a part of town where the billboards aren’t in English. Instead of celebrating that diversity and educating each other, we instead pretend as if those are the parts of town where we’re not welcome. Instead of the idealistic diverse melting pot where everything should come together to form one uniquely incredible taste, it’s more of a mixed salad where a bunch of ingredients just happen to be co-tenants in the same bowl.
But during those weeks following a Lakers championship, everything is different. The whole city belongs to everyone. We nod to that stranger in the Kobe jersey because he’s no longer a stranger. We high-five random bros at the sports bar because, at that moment, we’re all brothers and sisters. This city of transplants grants amnesty to all who want to jump on the bandwagon and take the ride with us. It’s like a high that I’ve been chasing since my first hit back in 1983.
So that’s what I’m most thankful for. I’m thankful for Dr. Gerald Hatten “Jerry” Buss because he continuously strives to bring out the best in my hometown. And he’s not done trying to do it.
Rey Moralde (@ReyGMoralde): What am I thankful for as a Lakers fan? Well, first off, I’m glad it’s in L.A. Beautiful weather, beautiful people, and in the entertainment capital of the world. Also, the fact that we have a front office that is consistently filled with brains. They always seem to be one step ahead of everybody.
Finally, I’m thankful for all the players that have been keys to the winning tradition of the Los Angeles Lakers. We’ve been fortunate to have guys like Elgin, West, Kareem, Magic, Big Game, Shaq, Kobe, Pau, and Dwight here. And we should be thankful for all of them. Without any of these factors, the Lakers wouldn’t have 16 banners up on the rafters.
Jabari Davis (@LA_SportsTalk): I’m most thankful for the Buss family, in general. In 1979, Dr. Gerald Hatten Buss (you may know him as “Jerry”) offered $67.5 million to Jack Kent Cooke for the ownership rights of the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings, The Forum, and a large ranch. I’m not certain what came of the ranch, but I’m quite happy Cooke decided to accept the offer. Dr. Buss not only maintained the excellence the organization was known for, but he enhanced it to all-out dominance.
In 33 years of ownership, the Lakers have won 10 titles, while playing in the Finals 16 times. Not that you’d know about the other six, as the Lakers are an organization that refuses to hang Conference/Divisional banners. Quite frankly, there wouldn’t be enough space in the rafters at Staples. To paraphrase a common saying around L.A.,” The Lakers don’t retool, they reload.”
I’m very thankful for that.
Suki Thind (@TheRealSuki): I am thankful for the fact that I live in an area which cheers the greatest team in sports. I am thankful for Kobe Bryant’s greatness, and his new-found health and vivacity. I am thankful for Mitch Kupchak. I am even thankful for Jim Buss despite his choice of Mike Brown as the Lakers coach last summer, because he chose to right his wrong and replace him as well. I am thankful for that, even though he chose Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson, because it may just work out for the best. I’m also thankful to Jim Buss for pulling the trigger on the Dwight Howard deal and having the idea of acquiring Steve Nash; and Chris Paul before that.
Of course I am thankful for Dr. Jerry Buss, who is hands-down the best owner in sports. I am thankful for the tradition of the Lakers which has carried such legendary names such as George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kobe Bryant and Chick Hearn. Lastly, but certainly not least, I am thankful for the team’s commitment to winning which enables true fans to continually be proud of our team despite what doubters say.
Elizabeth Benson (@Gobibs): For any diehard member of Lakers Nation, being a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers gives you a plethora of things to be grateful for, whether the team has the best record in the league or are going through a transition period. Therefore, when I thought about what I’m most thankful for as a life-long Laker fan, I determined what I think is the root reason for all their success that we as fans are grateful for: the great Laker tradition.
It is no accident that the Lakers are able to sustain their competitive advantage in a league that is continually trying to balance the competition. Of course, calling the second largest market in the country home, having 16 Larry O’Brien trophies overlooking the practice facility and being the most financially successful team in the league doesn’t hurt; the Lakers continually compete and remain elite year after year. How? It is the tradition that started in Minneapolis and exploded in Los Angeles under Dr. Buss that has made the Lakers, the Lakers.
If you think about it, it is the tradition that the Lakers have built that has created the Lakers’ culture that the fans love so much. It is their tradition of excellence on and off the court that keeps us fans glued to every game and gets us in the seats at Staples. In the ever-changing environment of LA, the Lakers aim to keep tradition in their game experience for every fan. There are no gimmicks, no distracting mascot and there are reoccurring musical themes that set everyone’s mood to Lakers basketball.
The Lakers are consumed with their traditional of winning, regardless of costs, and use their tradition as protocol when making basketball related decisions. Most professional sports teams are solely focused on making the most amount of profit each year. However, the Lakers are solely focused on winning championships year in and year out, with their profit margin being a positive consequence from their decisions
The Laker tradition has an affect on the players as well. When a player becomes a free agent, the Lakers top their list of preferred destinations because of the winning tradition and history that the Lakers have built in LA especially. Take Dwight Howard for example. The Lakers were able to beat out the competition once again because of their protocol to get it done (tradition). How many times have you heard Dwight comment on his goal of continuing the legacy that Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal have built with the Lakers?
The traditions that past players have built are huge shoes to fill, but it motivates and inspires current players, guaranteeing amazing moments for us fans. Just as Magic Johnson said at Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s statue ceremony, “[Staples Center is] here because of the tradition.” So on this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the Lakers’ tradition of winning, regardless of the sometimes roller-coaster ride it take you on.