Laker fans receive a lot of flack simply based on the fact that Jerry Buss (the team’s owner) had the foresite in the eighties to inject entertainment into the Basketball experience.
Courtside seats filled with celebrities, the Laker girls and the infamous Forum club for post game drinks and conversation were all apart of a complete experience of Laker fans during the Showtime era. 20 plus years later and a lot of these same concepts are the standard at arenas across the country.
But people still feel as if Laker fans are ONLY about the glitz and glam. Case in point, Laker fans were recently voted as the worst fans in the NBA (really, not Miami fans who can’t ever be bothered to show up before halftime weren’t up for consideration?)
Congratulations, Angelenos! You are the fairest of America’s fair-weather fans! The Lakers unfaithful abandoned their team en masse when Magic retired in 1991, then reconfirmed their fickleness by sending local TV ratings plummeting 30 percent after Shaq departed in 2004. Meanwhile, in these championship days, the Staples Center is more bar scene than sports complex, where fans can’t be bothered to clap—their hands are too busy texting. “The focus is sometimes not on the court,” coach Phil Jackson has said. “It’s on the people in the crowd.” Which explains why eight box suites were recently combined into an offshoot of an abominable nightclub, the Hyde Lounge. After VIPs pass a clipboard gauntlet—at a sports stadium—they can eat $21 nachos at a crocodile-skin bar while waiting for the space to transform into a postbuzzer dance club. When it’s time to leave, a valet will even bring around their bandwagon.
I guess those fans in the 300 levels of Staples Center are all reality stars who didn’t blow up? Don’t hate us because we know how to have a good time! I personally think it’s jealousy!
I supported the Lakers when it was Magic, Worthy and Kareem, I rode it out through the Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Mario Bennett term (see, I bet that’s a name you don’t even recall rocking the purple and gold.) And of course I’m front and center for the Phil Jackson, Kobe, Shaq and later Pau/Lamar
If you’ve never been to Hyde Lounge at Staples Center, do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s a unique experience! Check out photos of it below: