Twenty years of growing up in the city of Los Angeles have culminated into this piece. It pains me to be writing this but it is about time that LA, and the people residing in it, get called out for the lack of culture in the city and the reality that LA is not a sports town. From childhood to today, the city that I have called my home has experienced meteoric changes for the worst. LA prided itself on its diversity, no matter your race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identification, this city was a haven for all. However, as we advanced further in time and my understanding of the city expands, LA is only a city with a visual representation of two distinct social classes. The wealthy, “important” people live in the hills while everyone else looks up and aspires to be them. Every day, people like myself, received those constant reminders as we drove to school or work. You would look out to the hills and see the majestic homes and wonder to yourself why are we not like them. Here is the thing, the people with these homes were not born and bred in LA. It reminds you of a certain LA professional sports team that has never been an accurate representation of LA, oh yeah, the Lakers.
First off, the Lakers? Where in Los Angeles is there a natural lake? You have to go past Six Flags to even get to a man-made lake. The population in LA has seen a shift, especially on the westside, thanks to gentrification. These gentrifiers are people coming from the midwest and taking over the city to build their business and live out their dream lives because LA is such a magical place to live. It’s where dreams come true… The Lakers came from the midwest as well. Minneapolis, Minnesota was their original home and for odd reasons, the citizens of LA want to throw that history under the rug. Not one Laker legend has ever been born and raised in LA. Magic Johnson, a midwesterner, has a statue outside STAPLES Center, even though he never played in the arena. Yes, Magic is a Laker legend but this expands my argument of why LA is cultureless. This year, the Clippers are bringing in two superstars, both born and raised in LA, but will be ostracized by the city come October in favor of two transplants brought onto the Lakers. Anthony Davis is from Illinois and LeBron James is from Ohio. Can someone explain to me what the Laker brand has to do with Los Angeles? Hollywood has never been an accurate representation of LA. Why will a population of people in LA embrace a franchise that is the definition of everything they have come to hate about LA in 2019?
The reason why the Lakers have always been embraced and why they will be more embraced this upcoming season than ever before is simply because LA is not a sports town. The majority of LA citizens do not attend sporting events because they are hardcore fans of those teams. They do it for social media, A.K.A. “clout”. Whether it be a Laker, Dodger, or Ram game, LA is attending these events because it is popular. If these teams were not playoff contenders, nobody would be attending these games. Just look at the Rams’ first season in LA when they went 4-12 and the Coliseum was empty. You do not see empty seats at Browns games, Raider games, any professional Canadian teams or any European soccer clubs because the fans are passionate about the sport that they are attending and these franchises embody everything about their city. When the Dodgers lost two straight World Series, nobody put pressure on the franchise to make the winning decisions. Not media, not fans, no one. This does not happen in hardcore sports towns like Boston. Why do you think Boston wins championships year after year? Sports media in that city lights their teams on fire when they struggle because they care about the franchise and want to see them win. The LA population could not care less if their teams won or lost. They just care about the clout and showing up when a team is succeeding because it is popular. If you ever wanted to live in a nightmare of bandwagons, then LA is your destination.
Minus a few areas that still hold that true LA culture, LA is a lost cost for any type of defined culture. Thanks to the gentrifiers colonizing the city and the masses turning a blind eye towards this major problem, it has given a false impression on the dynamic between how the Lakers and Clippers are viewed in the city and has given an unearned arrogance to LA sports fans.
Photo via David Crane|Los Angeles Daily News