The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, their 16th road loss in 18 tries. The team's -15.3 net rating on the road ranks worst in the league, 3.2 points per 100 possessions worse than the 29th ranked Milwaukee Bucks, while their road game field goal percentage of 41.5% is merely third worst. All things being equal, on would assume that a team with these low marks would rank relatively low on the priority list for road fans to see when they came to town.
All things are not equal though. The Lakers' combination of a gigantic national fanbase, intriguing young players, and the farewell tour of Kobe Bryan have combined to give the Lakers the best road attendance in the NBA, according to Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times. Bresnahan reports that the Lakers average crowd is 19,223 on the road, and that ticket resales on Ticketmaster have risen 85% since Bryant announced his retirement.
As the Lakers careen towards setting their worst record in franchise history for the third consecutive season, many have begun to ask when the Lakers' popularity will begin to fade, or wonder when the brand will lose its luster. That may very well happen one day, maybe when the revenue creating golden goose known as Kobe Bryant walks into the sunset, or maybe further down the line. Maybe it won't, and we are certainly seeing no evidence that the Lakers' rabid fanbase is going to disappear any time soon.