Whatever team is the best in the NBA for a few years, any team with one of the best players walking the face of the earth on their roster, picks up a lot of bandwagon fans. There were wine and gold No. 23 Cavaliers jerseys sold all across the country in recent years, and not because of everyone’s deep love of northeast Ohio. The Golden State, with Stephen Curry raining ridiculous 30-point threes, is the current leader of the bandwagon parade. In every city the Warriors visit, fans who have never had a bowl of tonkotsu ramen in San Francisco show up in their No. 30 jerseys to cheer on Curry.
Of course, no team racked up more bandwagon fans than the Lakers during the Kobe Bryant era. Los Angeles has a long tradition of a lot of bandwagon fans — not all, there are a whole lot of genuine Lakers fans, just like there are a lot of genuine USC football fans, but when the Trojans are elite there are people who never dreamed of attending the college wearing USC gear around the city. The Lakers get that, too.
Which is why it was odd in a “pot calling the kettle black” (to use my mother’s expression) way when Kobe Bryant called out Warriors fans at a Lakers’ all-access event Monday night. From Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group:
Lakers fans do believe that they will get another superstar this summer to pair with LeBron James and they will be back to contending next season — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Fans should believe, even irrationally (not that the Lakers getting another big star in the next 18 months is irrational, it’s likely).
But calling out the Warriors for bandwagon fans lacks some self-awareness.
Kobe, by the way, was on fire and trolling everyone. Including team announcer Bill Macdonald and Phil Jackson.