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Burns: Beat LA

I hate the LA Lakers. Why hide from it?

I was raised to hate the Cowboys (Dad is a Redskins fan). I learned to hate
Notre Dame football. But I swear I came out of the womb hating the
Lakers. My first words were “Beat LA”.

I’m in a very small boat on this one; a guy in his late 30’s who is a native
of Arizona. When I grew up it was ASU football and Suns basketball and
that’s it. In that universe it is understood early on that you must hate the
Lakers. Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Kobe, Shaq, Riley and Phil…..hated ‘em all.
Couldn’t even bring myself to laugh at Abdul-Jabbar in “Airplane”.

I hate them the way, I can only imagine, a Boston fan hates the Yankees.
Certainly the way a Boston fan hated the Yankees before the Red Sox won
two World Series championships. Many times I’ve thought that the Suns
are the Boston Red Sox of the NBA (hardly an original thought on my part).
The franchise has had great teams, some truly great players, a Hall of Fame
owner in Jerry Colangelo and a capable replacement in Robert Sarver. At
times it has felt like the team is cursed; coin flips, bad injuries, character
issues and untimely suspensions. And at times it has felt like the Suns
made their own bad luck (Luc Longley and draft picks being sold in the
dollar bin are the first two that popped into the noggin).

The Suns have one of the best winning percentages all-time in the history
of the NBA…..with no titles to show for it. They are the Boston Red Sox of
the NBA.

If you believe that, then the Lakers are the Suns’ Yankees. (Just on a side
note here, go easy on the snide comments and emails – I’m not saying
Lakers/Suns is as big as Yankees/Red Sox, just that the emotion is the

The Lakers are the big shots. They have the rings, the fame, the glory.
Suns fans have always looked at the LA Lakers with a weird combination of
disgust and envy. I hate them, but I want to be them. I want what they’ve
got. Inferiority complex? Maybe. Probably. But why deny it?

Oh sure, the Suns have had their moments. In 1990 an LA Times writer
said the Suns would fold like a tortilla – Suns win in 5, the Westphal
guarantee in ’93, Mike D’Antoni’s domination over a weak Laker team a
few years ago. But consider this; when the Red Sox came back from a 3-0
deficit to beat the Yankees in the ’04 ALCS it was a tremendous
accomplishment that would have been rendered almost completely useless
had they not won the World Series. That’s where the Suns stand with the
Lakers. Nice moments, no rings.

I hate them the way a little brother hates his big brother. The older child
has the cool job, the big house, the hot wife and the perfect kids. He
always got great grades and was the captain of the football team. The
little brother is just smart enough to know he shouldn’t compare himself to
his big brother but he does it anyway.

So please, Beat LA.