Generally, people root for the team that is geographically closest to them. If you’re from Denver or a nearby suburb, you’re a Nuggets fan, and the Bulls are probably your team if you’re from anywhere in the greater Chicago area. I even saw a T-shirt once that made fun of us sports fans when it came to how pathetically simple this concept is: the shirt read, “The sports team from my area is superior to the sports team in your area.” Point taken.
But what about those teams we can’t stand—those teams we hate so much that if one of their players so much as breathes the wrong way, it pisses us off until their teammate does something even more agitating, even more unforgivable— like blink—and enrages us all over again? Where does this deep-seated, all-consuming hate come from, and is it healthy? (Please don’t answer that).
In order to research the subject, I conducted a study in the most professional and reliable way I know how—by, of course, creating an Instagram poll. I hear the best science is conducted through this medium, so the question I posed to my followers was to the point: “Which NBA teams (if any) do you hate out of principle?” and when people responded, I asked why.
Please brace yourselves because the results of this study are absolutely groundbreaking—are you ready?
As it turns out, everyone hates the Lakers.
Alright, I know. I should have expected this response, seeing as I also share this sentiment and have actively wished for the Lakers’ defeat ever since I was a little kid bugging my Dad to let me stay up for PST games on the off-chance that I might get to watch the Lakers lose. A part of me chalked all that up to being an exceptionally cruel eight-year-old, but I guess it’s true: hating the Lakers is like overeating on Thanksgiving or paying way too much for health insurance—it doesn’t matter whether you’re from Florida, Wisconsin, or New York; if you’re American, you just do it!
The reason for this American pastime is obvious and will probably please Lakers fans to read: they’re always good, and they’re always winning. Winners are easy to hate—I can admit that, and so can many of the people who responded to my poll by explaining that they “hate to see the same team win over and over again” and that “they’re just, like, always winning. It’s unfair.” Nothing about this is revolutionary, but what is interesting is why, year after year, the Lakers are a force to be reckoned with. How exactly do those SOBs do it? And can we still hate them for it?
Let’s get this off the table right away: LA seems like a pretty cool place to live. If I were an NBA player, I’d be more willing to move to Malibu than Milwaukee, too; especially once you disregard that one LA native we all follow on Instagram who posts too many photos of over-priced organic smoothies, then you can really start to appreciate LA as a beautiful place. But unfortunately, I can’t hate on the Lakers for relocating from the shit-hole that is Minnesota (no offense) to the paradise that is California, so I’d rather just focus on the other reasons the Lakers are always good and thus deserving of my resentment.