I've been a season ticket holder for 7 years and have attended more games than I can remember at the Rose Garden, at this point against every opponent in the NBA. Sitting at last night's season opener against the Lakers, I repeatedly asked myself, "What is it about Lakers fans that makes them feel so compelled to be so utterly obnoxious and instigating at Blazers games?"
Don't get me wrong - I'm a Blazers fan so I don't LOVE the Lakers, but I don't have anything against them or their fans either. In fact, I always enjoy our rivalry games, and all good rivalries are born out of some degree of respect for the opposition. Also, to be clear, I know this group that attends games as the Rose Garden isn't representative of all Laker fans, but they're your public facade at this point, and the ones creating general reputations for your group as a whole. I don't begrudge them for attending a game at the Rose Garden draped out in Lakers attire and cheering for their team - you paid for your ticket just like I did, feel free to cheer for whoever you want.
But that's the problem, they can't just cheer for the Lakers, they have to over-enthusiastically stand and applaud every Kobe free throw (to the point of it being more for show than actual conceivable pleasure in a made free throw), stand and turn to the fans behind them and taunt them with hand gestures and agressive faces, boo and throw "thumbs down" hand signs whenever the Blazers score, and talk smack anytime the Lakers do ANYTHING positive. Like I said, cheer for your team all you want, but that level of disdain and disrespect for both our team and our fans in OUR house is pretty ridiculous.
They're lucky they're in Portland, where home fans are generally gracious and handle the obnoxious behavior with more grace than many home crowds would. Could you imagine them doing that in Detroit? What if it was football and they pulled something like that in Oakland? It would be the last game they ever attended. And maybe that's it, maybe they think they can get away with it here. And I wouldn't have it any other way, we don't need to drop to their level.
Maybe it's because they're not REAL Laker fans, and feel the need to overly express their fandom to give themselves some form of validation. Maybe they act that way for the same reason they're a Laker "fan" - because they want to be, and be-seen, as cool for supporting a "winner". I don't know. But something in that mindset lends itself to that type of behavior at a game, and it's laughable. You can't help but enjoy watching them take the early "walk of shame" out of the arena to avoid the concourses after after behaving like that in a losing effort, if for nothing else than to enjoy the last few minutes of the game without their nonsense in your periphery.
The Blazers are 17-4 in out last 21 games against the Lakers here in Portland, so maybe they're our lucky charm, and the karma gods are working overtime.