Giving Thanks at FB&G

Darius Soriano —  November 28, 2013

It is an interesting time to be a Lakers’ fan.

The team is no longer considered a contender and, by many, was not even seen as competitive heading into the season. The roster is both in flux and seeking stability, with Kobe Bryant’s recent contract extension balanced against a team full of guys on contracts that expire at the end of this season. The team across the hall is the one most think can can compete for a championship and, though the city remains a Lakers’ town, the sense that it is the Clippers’ time is very real.

Through all that, though, I can honestly say I am truly enjoying this season. This team doesn’t have the most talent, but they play together and they play hard. They may not always make the right decisions on the floor, but they support each other each and every step of the way and reinforce the idea that they cannot do it alone. On a roster full of players it seems either no one wanted or had serious doubts about, every night it seems a different player steps up to keep the Lakers in a game or be the difference in a win. To watch them celebrate each other’s success and do so without ego or complaint, it really is something. The fact that they’re .500 through 16 games without Kobe playing a single game is also something.

Today is supposed to be a day of giving thanks, so today I just wanted to say that I am, in fact, thankful for this team this year.

Coming into the campaign there were arguments about tanking vs. playing to win, trading vs. standing pat, and whether or not this team was really headed down the right path. When the games start, though, I think even the strongest advocates for wanting a high draft pick in June can say that they enjoy watching this team play and enjoy watching them win. And, really, that’s what being a fan is all about. It won’t always be pretty and there will be plenty of disappointments along the way, but when the ball is thrown up for that opening tip, I really don’t know one fan who is only invested in seeing the team lose and wanting to see the guys they root for fail.

I don’t know where this team is headed over the rest of the season. I don’t know when Kobe will come back or how well he will play when he does. I don’t know if Pau Gasol will end the season wearing a Lakers’ uniform or if he’ll be able to continue his recent trend upward and maintain his trajectory of positive play. I don’t know if Nash will ever be even close to the same player he was when he came to the Lakers, whether Jordan Farmar will find his way onto the floor for more than 20 minutes a night consistently, or if Nick Young will continue to try to put on a show every time he touches the ball (actually, that one I do know).

What I do know, however, is that I’ll be watching and rooting for the best outcome. I’ll also be thankful I have the opportunity to do so while running a site with such great contributors — a site that allows me to talk about the team I root for with other people who care as much as me. We may not always agree, but that’s part of the fun. So, on that note, enjoy your holiday (if it is a holiday for you) and thank you for your support by reading and visiting. Whether that’s once a day or once a year, I appreciate it.

Darius Soriano

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30 responses to Giving Thanks at FB&G

  1. Lakers have been a fun team to watch this season. Absent injuries to a key players Gasol, Hill, Farmar, Young, Meeks, Henry and Johnson, Lakers seem able to challenge for the playoffs even if Kobe doesn’t play a game. Nash? Due to his defensive liabilities his return makes the Lakers worse.

    It seems Lakers are better than Nets who spent $25 million more on salary.

    thanks are in order …

  2. What a fantastic post! Very well said and reflective of my feelings about the team right now. I enjoy the process of watching a team grow and develop more than I used to, so this has been fun so far.

    Best to you and your family and to all the great folks on this site!

  3. The Philippines doesn’t really celebrate Thanksgiving but I share with my FB&G Family in celebrating it with you by posting some shout outs:

    I personally thank Darius for the friendship and the great community that we have here. Its a site I continually am proud to say I’m a part of, and while I may not be in the “great contributors” category, I think of myself as having 2 cents that matter somehow.

    I thank the heroes and villains of this blog, whoever you may be. What’s a family without feud anyways. And if we all agreed with one another all the time what’s the point? Largely to the “old” FB&G contributors like Craig W., Drrayeye, and alot more I cannot memorize that go with me way back in ’06 ’07 whence we were reprimanded by Kurt on a daily basis.

    Thanks to the Lakers mostly, 16 games in and I have had twice the fun. If we can win 1 playoff game this year then it can actually be called a “more successful” season in essence. But seriously, you cannot help but fall in love with this bunch. There will be spills, it will be messy at times, but its just a heckuva fun team to cheer for.

  4. Hey Warren,

    Of course you were scolded by Kurt! You basically used ESPN’s Trade Machine 24/7… :P Anyway, being from a country that also doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving I hope you folks in America enjoy the day with your loved ones.

    On the Lakers, I don’t know about you guys, but this team is the one who remembers me the most about the Van Exel, Jones, Divac Lake Show. I genuinely root for Farmar, Johnson, Henry, Hill and even Young (I hope it’s not Ceballos 2.0 though) and want to see them in a Lakers uniform for a long time… Are these the best times to be a Lakers fan? Who cares, I smile a lot for them when I see them succeed and that’s what being fan means to me!

  5. Very nice Darius. Thanks to all here at FB&G and to a Lakers team that fights so hard every night. To be a Lakers fan is usually to root for Goliath, whether a successful one (Kareem/Magic, Shaq/Kobe, even Kobe/Pau/Odom) or an unsuccessful one (Malone/Shaq/Kobe/Payton, last year’s DH debacle)… By contrast, I must say I really am enjoying rooting for the hardworking underdog this year as they pull off one surprise after another.

    A ‘rebuilding’ season? A ‘wasted’ year? ‘Killing time’ until the summer? F that! This season has already brought me so much joy. Here’s to Kobe’s and Nash’s successful return…. This team plays with real joy and I want that to be shared by our superstars as well. Get well, brothers.

  6. Many thanks to Darius, for taking the time, & to all of the contributors informing us, and at least in my case, to also sheding light on the finer aspects of the game – something I used to rely on the GREAT Chick Hearn for :)
    & thanks to all you crazy die-hards! It´s simply a gas to feel a part of this here `community´ -
    GO LAKERS, ALWAYS AND FOREVER!!
    (oh yeah, I´m especially thankful for Wes Johnson´s pick off that lazy pass, & subsequent dunk(!), when we were knotted up at 92 last night! ;)
    ____
    Thanksgiving is a special day, one which is unique to life in the good ol´ US of A, & one which many of my students (I teach English, mostly to adults) ask me about constantly. The fact that people open up their homes to, occasionally, strangers so that they won´t have to be alone or the fact that so many people volunteer at homeless shelters and other such places are simple, yet true embodiments of what this holiday means, to what it FEELS like.
    Sometimes it´s a bit difficult to get across to anyone who hasn´t been there at this time of year, nor been invited to a family´s or friend´s home on this Thursday of Thursdays what it stands for. But I always make it a point to tell the curious that if he or she were in the US on Thanksgiving, say on business, they can be sure SOMEONE would enquire as to where they might be spending their day, & more than likely invite that person to share in this wonderful tradition that is so reflective of what the USA is all about.

  7. I’m giving thanks for a .500 season so far because I don’t know if I could take reading Ken’s posts if they Lakers were in full on “tank mode.”

    Thanks to all the writers here at FB&G and everyone who contributes to making this the best Lakers forum. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

  8. Happy Thanksgiving…. New take…Lakers are a 500 team without Kobe….Keep the same basic team next season…add Kobe…add one more good player….one good draft player…We will be right there!!!!

  9. At least in my time I don’t know if we could be considered a Goliath outside of the Malone/Payton and Nash/Howard years.

    In the Shaq years we were coming off of consecutive sweeps at the hands of the jazz with Shaq, Kobe, Eddie Jones and Nick the quick only to dissemble that team and bring in veterans and Phil – then coaching and the emergence of Kobe made the difference in those years. You could argue teams like portland, Sacramento and the Spurs were bigger goliaths in terms of their overall teams than us.

    Then in 08 – no one was really looking at us as a goliath as we just had 2 b2b playoff losses against the suns with a lottery trip in between – we happened to be playing well early in 08 and then got Gasol – then we were great.

    To me it was our chemistry, coaching, and in the end superior talent on the top end that really got us over the hump and all of those teams like this years were enjoyable to watch unlike last year with Howard.

  10. Many things to be thankful for, however as this is a Lakers board: I am thankful for our 31 trips to the Finals, our 16 banners, I am thankful for all the years we had with Jerry Buss, for all the years we had with Phil, and for Jerry West who laid the foundation for the Kobe era (I always give thanks for those three guys as looking back I did not appreciate enough at the time when we had all 3 simultaneously). I am also extremely thankful that we still have Kobe. Thanks to Darius, the writers, and all the posters, for the good conversation and insights.

  11. – I love this team. They are growing as a unit. They are growing as players. They are growing on us. I give thanks.

    – 18 seasons of 8/24. What will he be when he returns? I look forward to finding out. To 2+ more seasons of finding out, I give thanks.

    – For 16 championships, and having enjoyed 8 of them as a fan, I give thanks.

    – For Magic, Kareem, Dr Buss, Jerry West, Mitch, PJ, Riles, Shaq, Coop, Byron, Nick, Vlade, Lake Ced, Eddie, McAdoo, Wilkes, Nixon, AC, Rambis, Horry, Fox, Fish, LO, Pau, Luke, Metta, Worthy, Perkins, Kersey, Andrew, and all the others who have donned the purple and gold armour, I give thanks.

    – Larry, Dr J, MJ, Nique, Isaiah, Rodman, Pippin, Malone, Stockton, KJ, Moses, Dream, Robinson, Richmond, Reggie, Ewing, Spree, KG, Barkley, Chambers, Mullin, Webber, Glove, Kemp, Grandmama, Mourning, Mutombo, Ellis, Drexler, Microwave, Petrovic and Reggie (RIP), for McHale, Walton, Wade, LBJ, Westbrook, CP3, Love, Curry, Thompson, Wall, Duncan, Parker, Manu, Marc, George, Rose and the dozens of worthy players who should be on this list, I love this game. I give thanks.

    – For Darius and Kurt, for Daniel, David, Rey and the rest of the folk who write for FB&G, I give thanks.

    – For the thoughtful comments on FB&G, I give thanks.

    – For the unreflected thinking, go to hell. (sorry, that sort of thinking keeps the word down and I hate it).

    – For good health, happiness and general well being, I give thanks.

  12. the other Stephen November 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I can’t talk much now, because I’m cooking up a mountain of food, but thanks to everyone for continuing to make this site so great. Thanks to all the people who provide timely analysis and commentary, and to the people who just comment and love sports, as well as to Darius, who is constantly pulling out his hairs trying to rein in mass hysteria. Hope you guys have a blessed day with your families.

  13. This season’s Lakers remind me of a good college team. They play hard and they play for each other. There is a tangible brotherhood vibe, and the guys seem to really like each other. As a long time Lakers fan I can’t think of what more I can ask for during a transition phase for the Lakers.

    They are likely a .500 team this season and will miss the playoffs. That is totally fine with me. I hope the ping pong ball bounces in our favor and we can start a new.

  14. Thanks to everybody here. Even when I am away on vacation at sea – like I am now – I still try to find time to check in on this site and see what you all are saying.

    Kurt started and Darius expanded on a really good Laker home. Thank you.

    Warren: you and I go back a long ways…a really enjoyable journey.

    Here’s hoping I can record tomorrow’s game and watch it when I get home – and here’s hoping it’s a victory. I do love to watch these players coming together. Last year was such a trial to watch and this year is such a joy – win or lose (but winning is much better).

    GO LAKERS!

  15. Obviously being in Australia it’s not Thanksgiving, but I am feeling thankful for this team. For LA guys back home (Farmar & Young), for vets who celebrate with the young guys (Pau & Nash), and of course for Kobe (what else is there to say?).

    And on a personal note, thanks to the FB&G member who’s a season ticket holder who hooked me (and my wife) up with nice tickets to a game for our impending trip to LA. Hoping to see Kobe & a win!

  16. Thank you forum B&G. I have to visit your site at least once a week. Darius and crew really provide us Lakers fans a great place for fandom bounding. Thanksgiving to all of you!

  17. B-ball wish, I’m personally thankful to have witnessed the team I’ve been a fan of since ’65 win the title 11 time. Such a sweet feeling. Nice write-up Darius, very rational, I agree w/ you completely. Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving w/ love ones.

  18. Happy thanksgiving. Let’s hope lakers win and cover the spread. Vegas on thanksgiving!

  19. Happy Thanksgiving to Laker fans everywhere.

  20. This site makes being a Laker fan so much better. Compulsive luker/reader (and intermittent commenter) since Kurt days, really appreciate Darius’ keeping it going and so well. All you commenters are great – like any family, certain tropes get annoying, but the site would be poorer w/out any of you.

    And loving this team – the young single-year-contract guys, together with the zero expectations make this season breezy, light fun. Fan since~1973, and this season reminds me, too, of those thoroughly entertaining Lake Show teams w/VanExel, Vlade, etc.

  21. I very rarely write comments in Here….just dont have the time but i really enjoy reading Darius and the guys on the boards take on the Lakers…..so thx2all of u and THX 2 the lakeshow for all the memories the goood and the Bad ones

    Greetings Form germany :)

  22. A little bit of basketball here…

    The Lakers have won 4 of its last 5 games. You can also argue that the game at WAS was very much winnable. The one thing very glaring and consistent over these past 5 games has been Pau Gasol. 18.8pts, 8.6rebs, 3.8asts, 1.6blks and most importantly 52.5% from the field. If and when Pau plays like this, we give ourselves a chance to win. His consistency is very much needed esp on the road where the rim is not as big as at home.

    I’d also like to post a shout-out to my favorite Laker not named Kobe Bean and Pau Gasol who has been scorching hot over the last few games. Jordan Farmar, the Lakers have you to thank for.

    Oh and Mitch, I really would like to see most of these guys back next season. I understand our position and our opportunity, but we also need a bench to compete esp with what we have been showing. It will be very hard to see any of these guys go, even Shawne Williams who seems to be the odd-man-out, in exchange for other players. But that’s just me getting attached. The best way for us to improve quickly is still via trade and good signings.

  23. I know its a little late but i want to say Happy Thanksgiving to every one here from Darius on to every commenter here. I say dumb things sometimes argue quite a bit and get moderated a lot lol but i really apreciate this forum and the chance to talk about my beloved team. For that i thank you all.

  24. “Oh and Mitch, I really would like to see most of these guys back next season. I understand our position and our opportunity, but we also need a bench to compete esp with what we have been showing.´´
    ____
    Warren, I like were you´re coming from here. I´m on board!

  25. PB, playing in sim leagues has taught me alot of things. One thing I do know is that he who has payroll efficiency wins alot compared to the GM who just signs checks away. That said, this is my contention:

    There are 2 ways to build this. The 1st route is to recruit 3 world beaters that will give your team superior dominance in the scoring column. This is what we call the super team wherein 3 guys represent your team’s core and the 3 stars dominate the games for you. The league does it presently with the Miami Heat with Lebron, D-Wade and Bosh.

    In the past, there have been many collaborations that fail to reach 3, the better would have been if the Thunder had kept James Harden in the fold. But they chose Ibaka, and the deal for Perkins (for Jeff Green) really hurt them alot.

    The next resemblance to this is the San Antonio Spurs. They have Duncan, Ginobili and Parker. Although much is to be said about the “dominance” of their big three, it has not been the blueprint anymore. Duncan is a shell of himself, once the greatest PF the game has seen. Ginobili has relied on his shooting range and smarts where his body has failed him.

    These 3 teams familiar to you? Yes, they are just the teams that have been to the last 3 Finals.

    The Lakers have a unique position to do something this offseason and the next. It will take quite the maneuvering but looking at the pieces we have now, Kobe on board and all, I’m pretty excited.

  26. It is just amazing how Chicago is #3 in the East, with a 50% record, and the Lakers are 8 spots lower in the west at #11.

  27. I am thankful for the moderators/writers on FB&G past and present. I am thankful for the teachings of the one and only Chick Hearn, I miss you! I too am thankful for many things, but in a basketball sense, I am thankful that there are Lakers fans everywhere! Most fascinating is the global input on this site, from basketball/Lakers fanatics. I’ve been on this site since the days of Kurt, there was then and now an air of camaraderie among a few posters. I’ve been attacked for mangling statistics, butchering the English language and being a Kobe lover. I’m not thin skinned (thankful) or I would never have had any success in this sport. Now that more women are accepted for being women that love the sport, I will now divulge that I am a woman. I hope that this revelation does not deter or impede my FB&G conversations.

    That being said, this years team has chemistry due to many factors, but one must look at three players from the Los Angeles area, Farmar, Young and Johnson. Add in the fact that (Williams, Henry , Sacre and to a certain extent Hill) all trying to establish themselves in the league and they are all close in age; it becomes clear why they play well together. It doesn’t hurt that the veterans that have played this season, are genuinely happy for the success of these players. For these reasons, I am enjoying this team.

  28. Warren,
    It´s easy to like what the team is doing right now based on the simple notions of: hustle, team work & camaraderie. Keeping our solid role players together would be great.
    ____
    C.Hearn,
    Where would Chick have been without Marge?! It´s good to know there are ladies here as well!

  29. Being from LA, but having lived other places, the Lakers have long sustained me against alienation and loneliness.

    I am now living outside the States again for the first time in many years (in Korea). As such, the Lakers have, once again, resurged in emotional importance for me.

    And, so I am extra-Thankful this year to have such a fun squad – that wins fairly regularly – to watch. And, I am very grateful to FB&G for hosting a great community and home for us all.

    THANKS! and . . .

    GOOooooOOOOO LAKERS!!

  30. happy post thanksgiving to darius and family and all on this familiar blog. feels like family here. was too full to think yesterday.

    in total agreement, this is in fact a unique season for the los angeles lakers. not hard rooting for an underdog; particularly one that is trying so hard ( you can see it on their faces) to compete, each and every game.

    too early for leftovers?

    Go Lakers