My experiences at Staples
I typically only attend 2-3 Lakers games on average each season, but I’ve been to a few legendary ones along the way.
I randomly went to Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game, which didn’t get the crowd excited until the comeback was in full effect during the second half, but the loudest game I’ve been to was Game 7 in 2010–thankfully.
I remember Phil Jackson remarking on how loud the crowd was and how it really helped the team rally its way to victory over the Boston Celtics.
However, often times the Staples Center crowd is simply quiet and dead. In fact, I sometimes feel like a fool being the only one in my section losing my voice in the first half of the game, before washing away that thought with another beer.
People honestly look at me–and other vocal fans–like I’m crazy, yet they’re the ones not contributing to their supposed team. Players want the fans to get as loud as they can, because it inspires them to play harder–especially on defense.
Additionally, I remember going to Game 5 of the Lakers-Celtics 2008 NBA Finals where I sat in the “Premier” section; the Lakers were on the brink of elimination that game. The guy next to me remarked–after he noticed I was quite vocal–that “This is the suits’ section…they don’t really cheer.” He seemed to be just giving me a heads up instead of telling me to keep it down, but after halftime, he, along with other fans in the section began to get into it. I’m glad they did, but it still shocked me that it took until the second half for the fans to cheer for a team on the brink of elimination.
In my most recent trip to Staples (the game against the Magic) I sat in the nosebleeds (the 300- level seats). The tickets were cheap ($25 compared with the $1,200 I spent on the Game 7 tickets), so I couldn’t turn it down.
I had always been told that the 300-level seats were where the real party was at. Wrong! It was just as quiet as it was in the lower levels! That surprised me even more, because I had heard so much about how the upper-deck sections are supposedly filled with the “real fans.” It wasn’t the first time I sat up there, but it was the first time I took note of the difference in enthusiasm–or lack thereof–between the two.
Los Angeles has an extremely dedicated fan base, and I know it’s in our blood as fans to support our teams to the fullest. Just a day before the Magic game, I attended the L.A. Galaxy championship game. Obviously, that was a championship game, but The Home Depot Center was rockin’!
Clippers fans also get quite lively, so I know it’s not something in the water that’s making Lakers fans so dull and boring.
I know there are intense Lakers fans out there who get wild, but they just don’t seem to be at Staples Center. It seriously seems louder at my friend Erjel’s house than it does at Staples, sometimes.
So, I’m asking all of Lakers Nation to stand up and help support our team! If you’re at the games, go ahead and get loud! Grab a drink, talk with other fans, do whatever it takes to get pumped up for the game and help the Lakers pull out some victories!
I know the crowd is “Hollywood” and Staples Center will never be as loud as Chesapeake Arena or EnergySolutions Arena, but the culture has to change to the point where my group of friends and I will never be told to “keep it down” ever again.
No, the Lakers won’t be able to take Staples Center on the road with them, but if they feel like they have fans to fight for back home, it will inspire them to play hard on the road and they’ll look forward to coming home to a positive environment–instead of the opposite.
A team who feels its fans are behind them 100 percent and are truly pulling for them will often give 100 percent on the court, in turn.
The effort of the Lakers isn’t the only problem facing the team, but anyone will tell you that effort can cure a lot of problems in sports, and I feel that the best way to generate some effort is through the enthusiasm of the fans.
After all, as “die hard” as we all claim to be, we can’t let the Clippers fans out-cheer or out-fan us, can we?