Cheering for NBA Teams.... Laundry

Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 07:57 pm
I was watching The Sports Reporters this morning on ESPN. One of the commentators said something that I have often thought but never heard anyone prominent actually give voice to. It seems that nowadays people aren't rooting for their favorite players as much as they are rooting for the colors and uniforms of their perceived favorite teams. The way that it came to my attention was sort of funny. You see, I was a Laker fan throughout the era of Kareem/Magic/ Worthy/ Scott/Cooper et. al. I was a Kareem fan when he was Lew Alcindor at UCLA and at Milwaukee, so I became a Laker fan first because of him, then because I loved all the other guys on the team. Loved Keith "silk" Wilkes so much I tried to shoot his crazy jump shot for a while. This was during the time when there was a visceral rivalry between Boston and LA, and even between fans of the two.

Anyway, I started liking L.A. less and less progressively each year that one of the old guard left, and were replaced by players like Kobe (it's all about me) Bryant, and Shaquille (so dumb he thought the Parthenon was a Greek disco) O'Neal. I had to stop wearing my beloved purple and gold cap, and started looking around the league for guys who had games I liked, and who I felt good about rooting for. I was a Detroit Pistons guy when Big Ben was together with Chauncey, Rip and crazy 'Sheed Wallace. I liked the Mavericks with Nash, Nowitski and Mike Finley. And I did love those rock star Bulls days with Mike, Scotty, Rodman and crew.

Now I'm a Celtics fan. This is incomprehensible for those in my family and friends who remember me as a rabid Laker guy, for some reason. They seem to see it as some sort of base disloyalty or mental defect that I didn't continue to pull for the Lakers after their uniforms were usurped by Kobe (the Forum can just barely hold my ego) Bryant and pals.

But I like the guys inside the Celtic Green right now. I like the coach, and the whole roster. I like their heart and their playing style. It's fun having a team I believe in and its fun watching them play.

Has anyone else experienced what I call people cheering for laundry?
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Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 08:06 pm
I like the Celtics too!

I probably cheer for green and gold laundry (NFL, not NBA). Part of that though is that I just have so little time to watch sports these days and what tends to happen is sort of grandfathering -- tune in for Brett Favre, get to know Donald Driver, on through Aaron Rodgers and co. It's much more fun to root for the guys you know (if you like them anyway!)

Brett Favre is who made me a Packers fan, (I was a Vikings fan before that) so that was not very laundry-ish though it was easy since I was in WI at the time. But once that happened, I know the team well and I'm rooting for them. (And they're the Packers! They're plain cool. Very Happy)

I was a rabid Bulls fan when I lived in MN, that wasn't really laundry but it sort of was, this was pre-Timberwolves and so if we were casting around for non-hometown teams, the Bulls were both nearby and fantastically good (although I started to become a fan just before Michael Jordan came on the scene, so I wasn't a Johnny-come-lately).

And I guess that's a big part of it too, the johnny-come-lately/ fair weather fan part. It sucks when times are bad for your team but it's so so much more fun when they finally do well if you've suffered through all the bad parts with them. Feels more earned (which is silly, we're fans, we just watch).

But I know exactly what you mean about the Lakers, I went through the same thing. They were good when I lived there but I just can't stand Kobe. (I like Shaq actually.)
Reply Mon 21 Feb, 2011 07:26 am

One thing I've tried to do is appreciate skill, no matter who's doing it, no matter what colors they're wearing. We go to the Red Sox every year (and we're developing a tradition of going to the Celtics every year, too, but they're a lot more expensive) and I do try to see who's doing something good on the opposing team. Now, I'm no fool -- if A-Rod hit a home run against the Sox, I am not gonna stand up and cheer. I enjoy having my facial features arranged the way they are, thank you. But I do recognize his skill and the fact that, hey, maybe our guy's pitching could've been better.

There are a lot of fans who seem to feel that every call should be their team's, by right, and that is the case even if the call is against someone who played for the team just the previous week.

One thing I have liked about this current crop of Celtics is not just that they are good, and they have great chemistry, but also that they're embraced the city. Pierce, I am sure, wants to retire here. Shaq rode the T -- in drag -- just for fun. I do like it when the city where they play -- and not just here -- becomes a place that they love, not just some stopping point where they deposit their oversized shoes for a few years.
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Region Philbis
Reply Mon 21 Feb, 2011 08:03 am

i've never cheered for the uniform.
for me geography is key.

growing up in nyc, i was rabid about the rangers, knicks, mets and jets.
not sure why i picked the mets, but i picked the jets because they also played their home games at shea -- whereas the giants were in new jersey,
and it just didn't feel right rooting for a team from another state.

as some of you might have noticed on these boards, i am loyal to the local Bahstin teams of the sports i follow (baseball, basketball, football).
i'm no longer a hockey fan (my first sports obsession), but i still take a glance at how the rangers are doing in the standings, and watch the
occasional game if they're on tv.

i am a fan of certain players on other teams, but that doesn't translate over to rooting for the team they're on...
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Reply Mon 21 Feb, 2011 09:30 am
Great post, snood (since I agree with it, natch). I was a Lakers fan back then too, for the same reasons. They're a big yawn now. I don't follow bball all that much in comparison with some other sports, but a team I do like now is the Celtics.
Reply Mon 21 Feb, 2011 09:34 am
Re geography, I rooted for the Lakers at the same time I yawned about the Los Angeles Rams.
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