This one goes out to all of you who make fun of Kobe’s mean mug.
This one goes out to all of you who claim Phil Jackson is nothing more than lucky.
This one goes out to all of you who talk trash on Lamar Odom’s pimptacular sense of style.
This one goes out to all of you who make non-stop Kobe rape jokes.
(Even though he was never found guilty, and the accuser was an American Idol reject and star****er — according to those who knew her, in high school she talked incessantly about wanting to become famous — in whose panties authorities found two other mens’ semen following her examination (ahem, whore).)
This one goes out to all of you who hate on Trevor Ariza, a great kid who overcame tragedy to get where he is today.
This one goes out to all of you who hate Sasha Vujacic.
(Actually, that’s the only one I really understand.)
This one goes out to all of you who think anyone with a Lakers flag is a bandwagon fan.
(Like we didn’t grow up idolizing Kareem or live in L.A. or etc…all of us just jumped on. Right.)
This goes out to all of you who attack Derek Fisher’s class, even though he is respected by his peers enough to hold the title of President of the NBA Players Association.
This one goes out to my old man, who calls me after every win and tells me how much he hates the Lakers. After every Lakers loss? Yeah, he basically throws a party over my grave.
And, yes, this one goes out to ESPN’s Bill Simmons. The most ridiculous Laker Hater out of the millions and millions. The guy who said Kobe was past his prime. The guy who is losing credibility over his redonkulously biased coverage of these Finals. The guy who is blocking people on Twitter like a mid-90s Deke just because they honestly criticize him. A guy who hates the Lakers to such a degree I bet deep down he wishes Magic wasn’t the only Laker with AIDS.
All of you Laker Haters need to shut up and listen for a minute. You listening now? Good.
YOU NEED US.
Nearly every great story has an equally great villain.
The Dark Knight had Heath Ledger’s brilliant rendition of the Joker.
The Godfather had Sollozzo and Co.
The Godfather II doubled up on the baddies — Don Ciccio and Hyman Roth.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy had Sauron and all of his minions.
Moby Dick had that mean ass albino sperm whale named, well, Moby Dick.
How good would the recent Star Trek have been if it were Keanu Reeves hamming it up as Nero instead of Eric Bana? He wasn’t Khan, but he was pretty damn good.
Before the Lakers arrived as the bad guys for the rest of the NBA, all you had was bad. Bad basketball. Boring basketball. The Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs. Bleh.
A story is only as good as its villain, no matter if that villain triumphs or fails. How monumental would the Celtics first title in over 20 years have been if it came against the Utah Jazz, instead of the hated rival Lakers? How invested would most of us be in a Denver Nuggets-Orlando Magic 2009 NBA Finals, with nobody to love and definitely nobody to hate (except for Cavs and Lakers fans)? For all your bitching, Laker Haters, you need us.
Our Lakers shouldn’t really be the bad guys. This team has always seemed like a crew of great guys to me. But I digress. I have accepted that the Lakers are the bad guys, the villains in the current NBA plot, because the other 90% of NBA fans need them to be the bad guys. We all need somebody to love? Sure, but if we can’t have somebody to love, we all need somebody to hate. I understand. I’m a Yankee Hater. When I see pinstripes I puke. Misery loves company. I get it.
You know what else? Like Kobe, I kind of relish being the enemy. Knowing that everyone and their mother is rooting against something that would bring me great joy. It makes the whole experience more fun. When we lose, yeah, it hurts a lot more with the legions of Laker Haters rubbing salt in the wounds. But when we win? It’s a special feeling to know you are part of a small percentage of basketball fandom jumping up and down in an act of celebration, while the rest of the hoops world is jumping up and down, red-faced, screaming expletives because the Lakers won it all and they just C.C. Sabathiaed a remote through a new HDTV set.
That being said, bring on Game Three, bring on the hate, and bring on the thank yous. You know you need us, NBA Nation. Thank the Lakers and their fans for being there for you, then get back to drinking your Haterade.