The Lakers return trip to the NBA Finals as brought about some rather interesting developments among Los Angeles sports teams with the Dodgers continuing to hold onto the best record in Major League Baseball.
In previous years this was often a flip the coin and decide one-two punch, but now the pressure squarely lies on the shoulders of the Lakers to win the NBA championship to secure the mantel of the top sports team in the region.
One might say that the Lakers will still be L.A.’s favorite team regardless if they win the NBA title, but this is a city of transplants and the demographics have shifted the fair weather fan base into a land of unpredictability.
Clearly it is a situation of winner takes all, and with the Angels struggling up south to become the darling of the AL West, let alone the American League, the Dodgers the hottest team in baseball with a diversified contingent of players reflecting the vast population of the city, and the Lakers on the cusp of capturing their fantasy for the first time since Shaquille left in 2004- top team threshold is up for grabs.
Mind you that the Dodgers attendance base has not suffered much even in a melting economy and the Lakers with Kobe and regenerated the car flags, and unlicensed product vendors throughout the city.
As great as Kobe is and clearly he’s the most gifted player in the NBA, but the young Dodgers with a personality infusion from Orlando Hudson, arguably the best defensive second baseman in baseball has created a unique dilemma for city bragging rights.
While the nation will watch the NBA championship series to figure out which is the best team in basketball, the city of L.A. is engaged into its own bidding war between the basketball team and the best baseball team.
The Lakers could win the NBA title and that would certainly take them into a category where the Dodgers have not been since 1988 and the Angeles since early in the decade, but if the Dodgers manage to win the World Series this fall, especially if it is against the Yankees then we could be on to something.
Either way the big beneficiaries would be the local sports fans who are often chastised for showing up late and leaving early and even for not making as much noise as fans in other cities.
However in a town where winning is the norm, you get used to holding your greatest celebration after the parade, something that we have had here in quite a while.