Los Angeles sports teams: Whose side are you on?

For years the Los Angeles Lakers have been the dominating Southern California sports franchise, but ever since the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim won the World Series in 2002 and the Los Angeles Clippers making the playoffs this season, choosing a favorite team has become impossible.

Southern California has more sports teams than most states. Southern California is home to the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, and the Los Angeles Avengers.

“Even though I’m from New York, I still like the Lakers,” junior Jamel Brown said.

The Lakers have always had a loyal fan base that has stuck with the team through thick and thin, but when Shaquille O’Neal departed and Phil Jackson stepped down as head coach, part of the Lakers fans left with them.

“I am an old school Lakers fan,” senior LeAndre Allen said. “When Shaq and Phil left I was upset, but my favorite Lakers teams was from the early ‘90s.”

During the first year without O’Neal and Jackson, the new Lakers squad managed to win only 37 games and did not come close to making the playoffs. But with the return of Jackson this season the Lakers made it to the playoffs and brought back some old fans to the Staples Center.

“I’m a Lakers fan, but I’m feeling this new Clipper team,” junior multimedia major Bjorn Biggles said.

The Clippers have become an instant hit in Los Angeles finishing above the Lakers in the Western Conference standings.

“I could not believe that the Clippers finished above the Lakers,” senior Shante Washington said.

To attract more Los Angeles fans, the Anaheim Angels changed their name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Since the change, more Los Angeles residents have felt they can call the Angels their home team.

“I always cheered for the Dodgers only because they represented Los Angeles,” high school sophomore Matthew Morris said. “When the Angels changed their name and put Los Angeles in it, I started liking them because they were a better team.”

Even though the Angels have had much more success than the Dodgers, that still hasn’t stopped their fans from remaining loyal.

“I’m a Dodger fan till I die,” Cerritos College sophomore Eric McCutchen said. “My family grew up liking the Angels but I always liked the Dodgers more.”

Since the days of Wayne Gretzky the Kings haven’t seen as much success as they would like, but with the Ducks on the other side of town fans have a hard time sticking with one team.

“I like the Kings because they are from Los Angeles but I like the Ducks because they win,” Biggles said. “I’m not a huge hockey fan but if I really had to choose I would go with the Kings because I’m from Los Angeles.”

This season the Ducks made the playoffs, receiving the No. 6 seed, while the Kings finished No.10 in the Western Conference. Since the St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders left Los Angeles for good, the Arena Football League’s Los Angeles Avengers have pleased the football fans appetite for now. With Los Angeles being the only major city without a NFL franchise, the Avengers have become a hot ticket in Los Angeles.

“I’m a season ticket holder,” Los Angeles firefighter Lance Keeble said. “Arena football is real fast, that’s why I like it, but I’m looking forward to getting a NFL team back to Los Angeles.”

Los Angeles fans are definitely loyal when it comes to their teams. Los Angeles is the premier sports capital and it will remain that way as long as the home teams keep winning.

Darnell Gilbert can be reached at flawlessgee@yahoo.com.

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