This column originally appeared at SeattleWeekly.com
As blasphemous as this may sound in these formerly NBA parts, I must admit that I’m worried about the Los Angeles Lakers. I know, I know. Beat El-Lay, and all that. But, conceivably the NBA will be back in Seattle, and we all want to be part of a thriving venture, the better the odds that we have the SuperSonics for at least another 40 uninterrupted years. And for that to happen, it’s essential to wish at least a little positive karma upon the City of Angels.
No matter how much it fancies itself a globally relevant enterprise, the NBA long has been a league that has thrived when its bicoastal American anchors also have. On the Left Coast, L.A. by far is the most meaningful pushpin on the basketball map.
I started covering the NBA when it was pulling itself out of the ashes, previously branded a “drug league” or “too black,” and badly trailing the NFL and Major League Baseball in sports relevancy. It may have re-branded itself as more accessible and fan-friendly, but the NBA’s reanimation came mainly on coattails of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, two polar opposites in style, personality and geography. So the Lakers are my frame of NBA bling reference — Magic to Worthy, Riley in Armani, the Sky Hook, Coop-a-Loops, the Laker Girls, Showtime.