I was not always a fan of the Lakers. When I began getting interested in basketball it was my dad and grandfather who somehow introduced me to their favorite players and teams. My dad had his favorite Filipino basketball team and that was the Meralco Redikilowatts. My grandpa was more inclined towards the NBA. His favorites then were a guy called Lew Alcindor and a team called the Knickerbockers. I used to hear him rant about how good the tall Alcindor was or how a great team the Knicks were. It was only later on when I learned that Alcindor played for the Bucks and the Knicks were from New York. But these teams became my favorites too. So whenever I found these two games playing against the Los Angeles Lakers or the Boston Celtics, I always picked the Bucks or the Knicks.
In 1975 or thereabouts, Alcindor, aka Kareem-Abdul Jabbar transferred to the Los Angeles Lakers. It was then that the Lakers became my favorite team. At about that time, the New York Knicks were no longer the team they were when Earl the Pearl, Reed and Walt Frazier were still playing with them. So I was stuck with the Lakers. Given the quality of TV transmissions by the NBA to the Philippines back then, I didn't have the chance to get to know other NBA teams at the time. In the 80s I lost TV-contact with the NBA and so I didn't really get to know the Magic Johnson era. Cable got introduced in the 90s and so I was able to see the emergence of new teams: the Bulls, the Pistons, the Rockets, etc. Although I've been reading about these teams from the papers during the 80s, my attention then was always focused on whether the champion was the Lakers or not.
When 2000 came in and I learned that the Lakers were once more champions, I began to get interested again. Then it was the Shaq and Kobe show. Because of the other NBA shows that replayed the great games of the past,I was able to see how the Lakers have been playing during the 80s. And so, whether replays or live, it was great for me to catch up with the career of the Lakers. The replays allowed me to watch Jabbar and the Magic Man go up against the Boston Celtics which I never liked since the time I saw them beat the Bucks in a 70s semifinals game. The Celtics was then led by Dave Cowens. In any case, Bird though 10 times more impressive than Cowens did not really help make the Celtics at least my second favorite in the NBA.
This season, I am still rooting for Kobe and Pau, hoping that they get their third championship. Shaq and Kobe did a three-peat before, so I think the present batch of Lakers can still get another one, and this despite their lackadaisical showing in their first 24 games. BOH, when Bynum returns against Washington, I hope to see the team's showing improve.
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