Halftime, and in the wake of my good friend Warren’s eloquent summation of his Celtic fandom, I feel compelled to offer my own story.
It’s the story of a young kid, lying in a hospital bed, barely clinging to life. He had a dream – a dream that his idols, Kareem, Magic, Kurt, Byron, would answer his wish. A championship, something to give him the hope that he so desperately needed, the spark that just might be enough to pull him through.
Who was that kid?
Er, no idea. It would make a helluva Lifetime movie, though. Meredith Baxter Birney could play the mom!
Listen. I’m a Lakers fan. I started watching them in the mid-90’s. Elden Campbell. Eddie Jones. Del Harris. Not exactly guys you’d, well, pay money to see. But watch them I did, and when Shaq came along, I was thrilled, and then came Kobe, and then Phil, and, well, you know the rest. The three-peat? Beautiful. Big Shot Bob. Fish. The Big Aristotle. The despised Kings and the hatred Spurs. I love NBA basketball, because it’s pure entertainment, and watching Laker ball in those days was a guaranteed good time. Now, when I say “fan”, I’ll fully admit to being a SoCal sports fan; that is, fair weather. (Pausing here to say that, honest to God, I hope that Pierce is OK after being wheeled off the floor. He, the Celtics, and their fans deserve better than to have the heart of the team, one of the league’s best, on the bench for this series.) Anyway, fair weather. Literally. As in, I live in a town where the average temperature is 69 degrees, and I haven’t lived more than a mile from the ocean in 10 years, and so I don’t spend a lot of time in front of the TV if the weather’s nice. And I’ll also admit to a decided lack of enthusiasm during Kobe’s, ah, difficult years.
But Showtime is back, and you can’t have a great story without a great rival. (FUCK! Pierce is back…and he stole the ball! Somebody kick him in the knee!) And while I sincerely hope that the Celtics come up empty, it’s good to have them back as well. Lakers/T-Wolves? Lakers/Nets? Doesn’t quite feel the same.