Updated: Dec 7, 2021
Order in the court!
*bangs gavel louder*
I said order in the goddamn court!
Hello jury, and welcome to Fan Court. Today we have a case that some are calling the Trial of the 21st Century, as we enter the fiery debate of whether Los Angeles is a shitty sports city or not. As someone who has grown up in the City of Angels (which I find to be quite an ironic nickname given the people that live here), but does not root for any of their sports teams, I feel that I have the perfect blend of experience and impartiality on the matter to conduct this high-stakes case. I also did a mock trial in high school to get community service hours, so I’m practically Johnnie Cochran. I am here today to help us reach a final verdict of: are the criticisms justified, or should y’all just shut the fuck up?
So without further adieu, I present to you…
The People v. L.A. Sports Fans
The Defendant: Los Angeles Sports Fans
Despite its firm hold as one of the largest and most powerful cities in the country, Los Angeles has consistently garnered a reputation for having one of, if not the worst, sports fanbases in America. For years, they have been considered the textbook definition of fair-weather fans. Thus, the question has been posed: do Angelenos deserve that reputation? This city is home to the Lakers, Dodgers, Rams, Chargers, Kings, Clippers, Angels, Bruins, Trojans… shall I go on? Few, if any, other cities in the country can compete with the wealth of sports franchises that LA has at their disposal. On one hand, one would expect a city with this absurd amount of teams in their backyard to have some of the greatest fans in the world, while another would expect the inherent superficiality of this city to take precedence over die-hard sports fandom. Let’s find out more…
The Case for LA Sports Fans:
With the level of iconicism that a great deal of their teams possess, LA is undoubtedly home to a great deal of passionate fans. The history of the Lakers, Dodgers, Rams, Bruins, and Trojans runs about as deep as the Mariana Trench. The lust of this city and sheer volume of homegrown talent has attracted many of the most legendary athletes in the history of American sports to call LA the home, or at least vacation home, of their careers. As a result, millions of LA fans from every generation have had iconic athletes to idolize and pique strong interests into these teams moving forward. Look at how the city rallied for their beloved Kobe Bryant after his unfortunate passing.
The city rode for the Mamba like he was a family member to all of us. You cannot go 4 blocks in Los Angeles without finding his face painted on a wall. It has gotten to the point where the website kobemural.com has been created to provide a database of the hundreds of wall-sized Kobe’s that exist throughout the city. August 24th (a.k.a. 8/24) was officially named Mamba Day. At the end of the day, this city wears their beloved athletes on their sleeves, and if you give LA your all, it will give it right back to you.
Due to the legendary status of many of this city’s franchises, there is a great deal of pride regarding their rich sports history. Because of this pride, as well as the affluence of many of the residents, you will be hard-pressed to find a Lakers, Dodgers, Rams, Bruins, or Trojans game that is not sold out or knocking on the door of sold out. You will be equally hard-pressed to find one of those games that is not loud...as...shit. The teams are rolling, the stars are out, the $17 Modelos are flowing, California Love is bumping, and Snoop Doggy Dogg is on the jumbotron telling everyone to get on their feet and get funky with it. Sitting in the nosebleeds of a Dodgers game and getting blackout drunk with a bunch of Mexicans you’ve never met as you watch the Dodgers whoop some ass should be on everybody’s bucket list. Point, blank, period. LA fans ride for their teams, because frankly, they’re too legendary to not ride for.
I rest my case...
The Case against LA Sports Fans:
Ight, let’s keep it a hunnid. For every legitimate knowledgeable sports fan in this city, there are 3 who have no idea what the fuck they’re talking about. Because of LA’s massive market and constant influx of star players on every franchise, many fans are able to get lackadaisical and follow the teams from afar, knowing that their teams will probably make the playoffs and will consistently pop up in the mainstream media. In LA, there are so many different things to do on a nightly basis, sports will often take a backseat to the millions of ways one can spend their time, making it quite rare to find a fan who watches games on a nightly basis. In addition, the high ticket prices for Lakers, Dodgers, Rams, Trojans, Bruins, and Kings games will often weed out many of the true fans to the point where they become more of a status event for the thousands of wealthy socialites to post pictures on their Instagram stories and act like they give a shit. There are many times where you could go to a game and talk with the fan next to you, and after 45 seconds you’ll be able to tell that this person doesn’t watch much of the sport they’re paying good money to see, they’re just here for the vibes.
While LA’s flagship teams do consistently sell out and have massive fanbases, teams like the Clippers, Chargers, Angels, and Ducks sit on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. You can get a nosebleed seat for a Clippers game for a mere $3 and move up into the next section because nobody, and I mean nobody, is there. The Clippers offered free backpacks to every public school in the city as a marketing campaign, and the only kid I knew who took one was a weed dealer who taped over the logo and used it to push product. The Chargers are an above-average football team with (in my opinion) the coolest uniforms in the league and a budding superstar quarterback in Justin Herbert, yet somehow finding a Chargers fan in LA is the sports equivalent of Where’s Waldo. Every “home” game they play feels like an away game. When I went to see the Chargers host my beloved Eagles and my dad’s beloved Raiders, they were booed as they ran onto the field…in their home stadium. Let that sink in. The Angels boast 2 of the MLB’s generational and most marketable talents in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, and I have met a whopping total of 1 fan in my 20 years of living here. And the Ducks? Are the Ducks even a real team??? No offense, Ducks fans (if you exist in the first place, which I’m still on the fence about). Moral of the story is, LA just has too many cooks in the kitchen, and while each major sport has 2 franchises based in the city, we’re better off having 1 per league, because the other teams get stuck with sloppy seconds.
And as for the Kobe thing, while the city most certainly rode for Kobe harder than anybody I’d ever seen, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the obscene level of clout-chasing that occurred after his death. People who I’d never seen talk about basketball once in their life started acting like they were such die-hard fans of his just to fit in with the “trend.” I can just picture these attention whores thinking to themselves, “Mourning Kobe is so ‘in’ right now, I gotta check Depop for some jerseys.” I would bet my life that a third of the people in LA who posted about how devastated they were about Kobe’s death could not tell you who Derek Fisher or Robert Horry is.
In a nutshell, Los Angeles, a city filled with people obsessed with maintaining their image, has its fair share of people who act like they’re supporters of teams when they’re really more of an acquaintance to the sport than a true friend. I do not have enough fingers on both hands to count how many teams are based in this city, but many of those teams have the same attendance as games at my old high school, so what’s the point? LA fans do ride for their teams, but they generally ride the coattails more than they sit in the driver's seat.
I rest my case...
Ultimately, it’s a pretty close call for me. On one hand, I know tons of exceptional fans in this city, and every game that I go to, I meet more lively, passionate, often-intoxicated supporters who do their best to convince me that I live in a damn good sports town. On the other hand, I would have to say that the number of shitty fans still outweighs the number of quality fans by a slight margin. And for that reason…
Sorry, my fellow Angelenos. ‘Twas a tough one. It was closer than some would have expected. While I think that overall, we aren’t a great sports city due to the inconsistency of our fan population, I don’t think it deserves the Shittiest Sports Fans in America crown. What about Miami? Philly? Dallas? I’m not tryna send shots or anything at other cities, I just think the shade that’s been thrown our way should be dispersed a bit more.
I apologize to the loyal, unwavering LA fans who don’t deserve the reputation they’ve gotten. There was nothing you could do. Don’t blame me, blame those 4 guys you know who you can’t stand talking about sports with because they keep talking out of their asses.
Please don’t egg my house.