I don't just want the Lakers to lose. I want them to lose hard. I want them to lose so hard that Shaquille O'Neal becomes a Clippers fan.
I have lived in Los Angeles for exactly one day. But I have rooted against the Lakers for 15 years. When I was a kid, I loved Kareem Abdul Jabaar, which prevented me from cheering against Los Angeles. But Kareem retired, and I loved John Starks and Patrick Ewing and Mark Jackson a heck of a lot more.
I am a Knicks fan. I will always be a Knicks fan. I didn't stop rooting for the Knicks when they started losing, and I didn't start rooting for the Nets when they started winning. I stay true to my teams. And moving across country won't change that.
The Knicks have not won in my lifetime. They made the playoffs most years I've been alive, and lost the finals twice, but the last time they won a championship was six years before I started dribbling.
I remember 1994 that hurt the most. When the Knicks lost to the Spurs in 1999, it was expected. Hell, I was thrilled the series went to five games. But in 1994, the Knicks were a winnay, a John Starks buzzer beateraway from the title. And like so many John Starks buzzer beaters, it didn't happen. I remember crouching in the coatroom during my sister's wedding listening to them lose that game. I'm usually not one to cry at weddings.
People say that New York sports fans are spoiled. I disagree. Maybe Yankee fans they've won more championships in the last eight years than most teams have ever played in. But the rest of our teams are really known for losing in the post season.
I'm a Mets fan. They won the World Series when I was seven I admit that was pretty cool. But I saw them lose the playoffs in 1988, lose the playoffs in 1999, and lose the World Series (to the Yankees, no less) in 2000.
I saw the Giants win the Super Bowl after the 1986 season. But that was before I was a football fan. Their Super bowl win in 1990 was alright I was 11, and had followed the season a bit. But after that, I saw them lose the Bowl in 2000, and lose early in the playoffs three other times.
In hockey, I root for the Rangers, who took the Stanley Cup when I was 15. That is the only time I've really been old enough to see one of my favorite teams win it all. I've also seen them become a laughingstock since then, paying an exorbitant amount for early playoff losses, followed by paying an exorbitant amount to not even make the post season.
And then of course, there's my St. John's basketball team, which alternates between being the worst good team in the country and the best bad team in the country. We're all so proud.
I have spent my life disappointed by the almost-wins of my favorite teams, especially the Knicks. And now, in my first week as a resident of Los Angeles, I may have to see a team I severely dislike win the whole she bangs.
When I get to LA, I can root for the Clippers, because they're harmless. I can root for the Kings because I've been following them loosely since their amazing comeback filled playoff run a few years ago. And though I will be rooting against the Dodgers because my father grew up in Brooklyn, it's not like LA cares about them anyway.
"We'll have to stay to the end of the game if we don't want to get caught in all the 6th inning traffic."
But then there's the Lakers. When the Knicks actually won in 1973, they beat the Lakers. When the Lakers won in 1972, they beat the Knicks. The Knicks have been in the finals eight times, and five of those were against the Lakers (some even before they moved to Los Angeles).
I have been raised to root against those yellow and purple uniforms (seriously guys yellow and purple?). I don't care much for their players, either. I don't think Kobe raped that girl, but I can still root against him for being an egotistical adulterous grandstanding jerk. And I like him a lot better than I ever liked Shaq or Malone.
I don't want to be part of the impending parade and I certainly don't want to be there when there's a riot (again). It was bad enough to see the Lakers win so often from across the country. Now I have to do it in person.
As a sports fan, I will watch the finals. And as an LA resident, I'll watch at a local sports bar. But I'll be doing it all in a Clippers jersey.
Wait, I don't have a Clippers jersey. Maybe I can pick one up during the riots.
Steve Hofstetter is the author of Student Body Shots, which is available at www.SteveHofstetter.com. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.