Sorry for the length but I was kind of worked up when I started writing this.
Yesterday I was involved in very spirited “conversation” with my brother and several other Lakers fans. The conversation started with a simple question from my brother. The question in is simplest form was “why?” He asked why I continue to be a Pacers fan. He asked how I could live in L.A. amongst countless championship teams and root for a team many states over that has yet to provide me with a championship to celebrate. He asked how I could sit in the beautiful Staples Center twice a year and root against two L.A. teams when I have never been within a hundred miles of Conseco. He asked how I could live through Kobe Bryant’s career and not be moved to cheer him. For several moments I was stumped. For the first time I couldn’t think of a legitimate reason why I cheered my team. I wanted to point to our very own All Star Danny Granger, but I knew that would only be met with questions of rather is he good enough to win a championship. I wanted to rave about the development of Roy Hibbert. I knew my brother would counter with how it doesn’t matter how much my favorite current Pacer grows if our coach continues to ignore and mismanage him. I wanted to tell them about the cap space that we would have at the end of the season, but I reminded myself of the fact that the best we could probably do next summer is over pay Ne Ne if he opts out. So I sat there with a dumb look on my face trying to think of a legitimate reason. As corny as it sounds I could only think of one reason. That reason was loyalty. I told him about falling in love with the Pacers on NBA Jam shooting countless threes with Reggie Miller. I reminded him of my first true sports joy being Reggie pushing Jordan and draining a three with .4 left on the clock and jumping around on a bad wheel. I reminded him that I cried when the Bulls won game 7 that year. I reminded him that if I see Tayshaun Prince tomorrow I will be attacked by his handlers for spitting in his face. He followed that with a sarcastic sigh and by saying he always wondered how having Reggie for a hero would affect me and now he knew. He said I would stay true to a team that will never provide me with a NBA championship. He may be right. I may live the next fifty years of my life how I lived the last twenty two years of my life, without championship. I told him that true loyalty isn’t tested until the glory days are far gone. I asked told him I’d pass judgment on his fan hood when he can think of no other reason than loyalty to stay.