Watching Los Angeles Lakers fans and those of other teams take in games late in the season with lottery odds on the line is a really, really odd phenomenon from the outside looking in. Imagine what it must feel like from the inside looking out?
Larry Nance Jr. gave us a brief glimpse into what that might feel like as he spoke after the Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs and it probably isn’t what fans might want to hear.
It also is the only thing he can realistically say.
Here’s how he puts it, via the Los Angeles Times’ Tania Ganguli.
Does @Larrydn22 care that fans wanted a loss tonight? "No. No I don’t. I am a competitor first and foremost. My job is to compete."— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) April 6, 2017
This is some version of exactly what any other player on a tanking team late in the season might say following a win.
Hell, imagine if he said the opposite of this:
“Yeah, sorry about that. I mean, I wasn’t even out there for all the game. Blame those shortsighted losers who played more.”
The very idea that we might expect professional athletes — some of the most competitive people on the face of the planet — to be disappointed after winning is basically the definition of shortsightedness.
Fan to athlete: Hey I know you’ve been trained your entire life that winning is all that matters and in some cases, your very chance at continued employment depends on success, but we reeeally would like to keep our chances in an actual lottery at where they currently stand. Could you pretend you care about those chances, please?
Athlete back to fan: This is why I don’t talk to fans.
Now, Nance’s probably doesn’t have to worry about losing his job this offseaon, but the same can’t be said about Thomas Robinson, who had angry fans giving him a hard hard about Wednesday night’s win.
Come on, whoever gave Robinson a hard time about winning a damn basketball game. Do better.