It was one of the
The serenity, though, was short-lived.
As Lakers Coach
"Your team is awful!" screamed another.
They did not wear
Welcome to the Lakers' 2013-14 season, where nobody is spared and there is little gray area between anger and angst other than complete boredom.
The Lakers are a shell of themselves, and it shows everywhere.
Pick your mini-era — Kobe-
Cowbells in Sacramento to mess with Phil Jackson. Derisive
But during a loss in Memphis last month, a fan in the third row noted to another, "It's kind of quiet in here."
The Lakers have dropped to third in the league in road attendance behind Miami and Oklahoma City. The anger (and, sure, support) that used to accompany their arrival has fallen.
"It might not be as exciting because we're losing most of those games,"
It's worse than sensible.
"It's depressing," said Danny Kohan, a Lakers fan who lives in Agoura Hills and went to Denver to see them play the
Kohan and his friend, Sam Sakhai, bought tickets well ahead of time for $20 above their $60 face value. They said they could have purchased them online closer to game day for only $30.
"Prices went way down," Kohan said before the Lakers were done losing, 134-126, suffering their first sweep ever in the season series against Denver.
Sakhai, who wore a Showtime-era
"I guess that's really why we're watching the games, to see who's good enough to stick around. It's a scouting mission," Sakhai said. "Not used to it at all."
Followers have tuned out while the Lakers (22-44) edge closer to the 1974-75 team's futility mark (30-52) for lowest winning percentage since the franchise moved from Minneapolis in 1960.
Ratings have plunged about 40% on the Lakers' home television network, Time Warner Cable SportsNet, in only the second year of a 25-year, $5-billion contract.
Three of their national-TV games have been dumped ahead of their scheduled date, twice by
Home crowds have also been tepid, the Lakers experiencing several non-sellouts for the first time since 2006, including an unexpected one against the
If the Lakers can't fill
Not surprisingly, stars have appeared with less frequency as well.
Comedian George Lopez was the sole celebrity shown in a recent scoreboard rendition of "Hollywood Nights," the Bob Seger song that typically accompanies brief camera shots of smiling in-house A-list talent during a third-quarter timeout.
Lopez, perhaps sensing he was the lone household name in the arena, had a character actor stand up next to him and they both showed off the inside and outside of their funky embroidered jackets as the song kept playing. No other stars were shown. The game resumed. The Lakers lost to Charlotte, 110-100.
These days, there's a fired-up home crowd only if the opponent warrants it.
Fans couldn't wait last month to stand up and boo
"This has been a tough year — painful for the players, coaches, fans. Point blank," said Lakers assistant coach
But there's that nagging question. How soon?
Bryant went off on Lakers management last week, saying he had "not one lick" of patience for the team to retool. Reporters in attendance were witnessing par on Bryant's course, the latest bunker shot from a player whose main career goal was to pass
Jordan had six. Bryant, who turns 36 in August, has been stuck on five. He might permanently be there.
He's under contract with the Lakers for two more years and $48.5 million, a staggering amount for a player who lasted only six games this season because of injuries.
It stunts the Lakers' purchasing power going forward, enough for TNT analyst Steve Kerr to predict a long turnaround process. And that was before the historic loss to the Clippers.
"It's amazing how quickly things can slip away from you in this league," Kerr said on a recent broadcast. "One year ago the Lakers got [
In that game in Memphis, the Lakers were down 12 in the fourth quarter when a
That would be Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins, a likely top-three pick in the
They won't want to hear this, but it can always be worse. This isn't Milwaukee or Charlotte, where the losing happens annually.
"It's been tough but there's a lot of other teams where this is their identity every year," Lakers reserve guard