Once again the NBA playoffs are back! So you would think that for basketball fans like myself, this is a good thing, right? There is only one problem. During this time of year, it seems that a new sort of breed of basketball fans come out of the woodwork to surface their ugly mugs and flap their lips in the name of Laker bashing.
I was born in Southern California, and because of this I got used to the silly habit of becoming a part of a loyal fan base for winning teams. I watched Kirk Gibson hit the game-winning home run in the first game of the 1988 World Series. I also watched Kings hockey when Wayne Gretzky brought Los Angeles more glory. Most importantly, I had the distinct pleasure of watching the L.A. Lakers win championship after championship throughout the 1980s and here again in the 21st century.
Apparently, winning championships does not make Southern California’s northern counterpart too happy. All of last year I had to listen to the bitter chiding of jealous Sacramento Kings fans talk about how the Lakers “hella suck,” and how proud they were to have originated in NoCal. I guess I will never understand the obsession of Northern California’s natives to represent where they originated. It must be an inferiority complex or something. Rarely does anyone from SoCal boast about how they hail from Calabasas or Long Beach. Yet here at UCSB, all I hear are claims about places like “East Bay” and “Sac Town.” I’m sure those are great places, but why the constant reminders? I can’t count how many times I have seen that lame banner hanging up on the wooden corner of DP that simply reads “Northern California.” Come on, can’t you guys do better than that?
Obviously not, since watching the Sacramento Kings get pummeled by the Lakers was a sight that would send Timothy McVeigh happily to the electric chair. Give me a break! All I heard this season was how good Sac Town was this year and how that barn known as Arco Arena is the toughest place to play in all of the NBA. Were four games all those dreaded Kings had in them? Maybe they just ate too much granola for lunch on all four game days. Or maybe it was those ridiculous cowbells (that did so much for the NoCal stereotype) that the fans rang all game, driving their players into mediocre performances. I would like to think that the Kings couldn’t stand up to Shaq and Kobe, and the aura that encircles champions.
So before all you NoCal Laker haters don your San Antonio Spurs garb, I suggest that you learn the lessons that history has taught us. If you can’t beat ’em, don’t hate ’em – it only hurts more in the end. There will be no celebrations on the streets of Sacramento. So put your ideas of celebratory gunshots to rest, and gently place that rifle back onto the gun rack of your Ford pick-up. Silently put the bells back on your cows where they belong and remember one thing: It’s a ring thing … bling bling.
Ken Spain is a senior history major.