Of course the Lakers traded for Dwight Howard. This is the Lakers. This is what the Lakers do. They get one lottery pick in the span of a decade? They pick an All-Star center, Andrew Bynum, at No. 10. They get completely embarrassed in the second round two straight seasons -- I mean, really humiliated -- and they trade for Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. This is the Lakers. This is what the Lakers do.
And despite all of that, the Sacramento Kings almost always play them tough, and are right there to compete and infuriate and test them. Hell, it happened in the late '80s, too. We were picking Pervis Ellison No. 1 overall and the Lakers were trotting out Magic-Kareem-Worthy. The NBA's never been fair and it'll never be fair.
But in the throes of battle, none of that matters. When Dwight waltzes into Sleep Train Depot wearing that sad imitation of purple the Lakers call their team color, he won't be anything but a mark to the 17,317 screaming fans bellowing around him. When Steve Nash traipses through, he'll get the same treatment. And Kobe? Kobe knows. Kobe's been here. He knows.
The last couple years of incredible off-court struggle for this fan base has, I think, brought the fans and the players a bit closer together. We'll never forget the players coming out at the end of the Lakers game on April 13, 2011. That loss killed them for the same reason it killed us, and I don't think they've forgotten. So when we see this trade and grind our teeth and wait for our chance to shout disapproval, I think DeMarcus and J.T. and El Flaco and Marcus and Tyreke, the guys who have been there, grind their teeth and wait for their chance to inflict disapproval. And I think Isaiah and ThRob and Jimmer and James Johnson will get that feeling in their bones when the Lakers visit in November, too. I'm not afraid specifically because it's the Lakers, and 'round here, we don't fear the Lakers. We face them.
The season can't get here soon enough. Beat L.A., brothers and sisters. Beat L.A.