Here’s what saddens me: We should have remembered December 8, 2011, as one of the best random basketball days in years. It was like climbing on a Twitter/e-mail/phone call/texting roller coaster from the moment I woke up. First, Boston was in the lead for Paul as Golden State and the Clippers were falling out. Then, Boston fading as the Knicks were gaining steam. Around lunchtime, I called a Knicks buddy who was gleefully planning a future with Chandler, Carmelo and Paul, with poor Amar’e headed to New Orleans, Orlando, Houston … who the hell knew? And then, boom! That went up in smoke. The Lakers came roaring back, word of a three-teamer spread … and my Knicks buddy went from euphoric to despondent in less than three hours. My Laker fan buddies were crowing, my Boston peeps were freaking out, my dad was practically having a heart attack about the Kobe/Howard/Paul possibilities, Twitter was blowing up … I mean, could that have been a more fun day to be a basketball fan?
The best point guard of his generation was switching teams, in his prime, to the Los Angeles Lakers … and only after the Celtics and Knicks failed to get him. Read that sentence again. It’s what Dan Gilbert and the other Overpayers Anonymous owners will never understand. In professional basketball, history trumps everything else. It’s not just about playing in Los Angeles. It’s about playing for the fucking Lakers. It’s about following the footsteps of Magic, Kareem, Wilt, West, Baylor and Shaq. It’s about Showtime, Nicholson, the yellow jerseys, the Laker Girls, even that awful Randy Newman song. It’s about that buzz before a big Laker home game, when the place is packed with celebs and eye candy, when you’re the best guy on the team, when you might as well be the king of the world. When these idiots complain about a “big market/small market” disparity, it’s almost like they never followed the league before they bought their teams. Of course there’s a disparity! What kid doesn’t grow up wanting to play for the Celtics, Lakers or Knicks?
Managing Director, Social at R/GA. Co-founder of Blogs with Balls and future owner of the MLB's Austin Bats.