The basketball world is aware of how passionate fans of the Los Angeles Lakers are. A historically winning franchise, the Lakers have made the playoffs 60 times and won 16 championships since their formation in 1947 in Minneapolis, before moving to Los Angeles in 1960.
As the entertainment capital of the world, it is fitting for the city of angels to host an NBA team as prestigious as the Lakers. With such success, grows a large, passionate fan base. Nowadays the Lakers fan base stretches worldwide and these are fans that are certainly not afraid to let their opinions be known, positive or negative.
With being a UK-based fan club, it is easy to miss the perspective of the fans that live in Los Angeles. With this, I would like to introduce Brandon and Erwin who are from and live in LA. Myself, Brandon and Erwin go way back, from our college days at St John’s University in New York. They are both as passionate as it gets and will provide a great insight into the Lakers’ current situation and their expectations moving forward.
Q: How long have you been supporting the Lakers for, and what is your favourite memory of supporting the team?
Brandon: “I have been supporting the Lakers since 1999 when I was old enough to start somewhat understanding the game more. My favorite moment was definitely the 2010 Championship season in getting revenge on the Boston Celtics.”
Erwin: “I was born a Laker fan as I grew up in LA. As I grew up and started to be able to form my own opinions the Lakers were a top team so there was no other team for me to go with. My favorite memory is after the 2000 or 2001 championship (I don’t remember the exact year), during the parade my uncles, cousins and some friends were looking for a nice spot to watch, and we saw people going through a broken fence to climb a fire escape. We followed and were able to get a great view of the whole parade from up there. That was an experience I will never forget.”
Q: What are your thoughts so far on the 2018/19 Los Angeles Lakers?
Brandon: “I like this team. I was higher on this team being able to compete this year than most predicted. LeBron alone ups your level of competitiveness. With the balance of veterans in Rondo, Lance and Chandler with the young talent I think we actually have one of the deeper teams in the league once it comes to April.”
Erwin: “As a die-hard Laker Fan, over the years I have developed patience. I know we have been spoiled having great teams but no one can be on top forever. With this particular team I have a lot of hope, I mean who wouldn’t with LeBron. Aside from that we have a group of young guys who seem to be hungry and willing to learn, with that comes a lot of growing pains. This is a team that is learning how to win and is in need of a legit number 2 option, and it has shown with LeBron out recently. I do believe though that Kyle Kuzma (Not Ingram) can be that number 2 one day, but we do need to go out and get an established star to pair next to LeBron sooner rather than later so we don’t waste the last few years of his high level play.”
Q: Living in LA, what was the general vibe around the city when it was announced that LeBron James was signing for the Lakers?
Brandon: “People were excited! The media hyped up the whole Kobe fans hating LeBron thing and that is somewhat of a thing but not on the scale they make it seem. Being able to see a great brand of basketball had the city with some extra energy.”
Erwin: “It was actually very split which makes no sense to me. I will always be in favor of going out and adding the best player in the world to your roster. But some people were blinded by their hate of his previous move from Cleveland to Miami, which don’t get me wrong I disliked at the time but now he’s a Laker. If you still hate him while he’s on your team then you’re just idiotic.”
Q: Do you think the Lakers can tempt another free-agent to LA, or is the best route to trade for a second star?
Brandon: “I always think if u want someone, you need to go out and get them ASAP. Meaning a trade. If we learned anything, you have to do that (Paul George free agency). You never know how situations change for guys who say they would come as a free agent.”
Erwin: “I do believe the Lakers can land a big name free agent now that we are heading back in the right direction, but I also believe that we shouldn’t assume that we will. If a good deal comes along where we aren’t giving up to much and getting back the number 2 or 1b option that we need, then we need to pull the trigger. But we don’t need to rush into anything either.”
Q: What are your expectations moving forward for the Lakers, this season and beyond?
Brandon: “My expectations are the Western Conference Finals. I think it would be a failure if they lose to anyone not named the Warriors. I like our matchups and think that we have the potential come playoff time. For the future, I don’t know. Summer of 2019 is going to give us a clearer view.”
Erwin: “This season to me would be a failure if we don’t make the playoffs. If certain things fall in our favor I can see us making the Conference Finals and by that I mean we would need “Playoff Rondo”, Lance to play like he did during his Pacer days against LeBron and the Heat, McGee to play how he did to start the season, and of course a healthy roster. With this, I believe we’d have a legit shot. However, I’m a realistic fan and know that it’s a process and we can’t expect overnight success, but I do expect at least 1 championship during LeBron’s time here in LA otherwise we can cancel the GOAT talk for LeBron. Our Future is very bright though and even if we don’t win a championship while he is here I can’t deny the fact that LeBron making this move has revived the Lakers franchise and we should see the impact of that in the near future.”
By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)