As much as I enjoy watching football, especially to see the creative ways my Titans find to lose on Sundays, NBA basketball is my first love.
This week, training camp began for every NBA team, so I’ve been checking Twitter relentlessly to see every not-so-meaningful update on my favorite players and my favorite team, which is the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now, if I told you my favorite team about six years ago, you might accuse me of being a bandwagon fan. But I’m not sure being a fan of a team that just went 17-65 would qualify.
I actually got into NBA basketball when I was a child because of an arcade game called “NBA Jam.” The game featured two-on-two basketball in which the net would actually catch fire after you hit several shots, and your player could jump 20 feet into the air and twirl around before dunking the ball.
My friends and I would play the game at the skating rink in Murfreesboro. I’m not quite sure why, but when we were kids, the skating rink was the cool place to hang out with your friends. It had an arcade!
Anyway, I got to be really good with the Indiana Pacers in that game, which featured Reggie Miller draining threes and Rick Smits getting rebounds and blocks.
After awhile, the rule became that I couldn’t be the Pacers anymore, because I was too good with them. So then the Jazz became my team, and I was actually better with them, because I got to use the Stockton-Malone connection.
Then, that team was outlawed. So I went with the Lakers. Nick “the quick” Van Exel and Vlade Divac were the players I used. I was never able to completely dominate with them, so they became my team.
This was around 1994-1995, and at that time, the Lakers were not very good. This was the post-Showtime era, and the pre-Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal era.
At that time, there was no Memphis Grizzlies, so the closest teams were the Atlanta Hawks and the Charlotte Hornets. No thanks; I was just going to stick with the Lakers.
I remember having a friend who was really into the Orlando Magic because he loved Shaquille O’Neal. His room was decked out with posters and everything.
One day, we watched a game that was on TV. I don’t remember who the Magic were playing, but I remember him dogging me because my Lakers were not very good, and he was sure the Magic were the best team in the league.
The next year, his room changed to purple and gold, because Shaq left the Magic and signed with the Lakers as a free agent. That was a beautiful feeling.
Now, the Lakers are full of promising young players who I will hopefully enjoy watching grow into respectable players. They will, however, take a lot of losses this season. Still, I can’t wait.
The NBA season doesn’t start until Oct. 25, but I’m already counting down the days. Who knows what could happen this season? After all, last year the Warriors had the only unanimous MVP in the history of the NBA, and they gave up a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.