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Why I am a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers

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Sports are bigger than entertainment, they brings us together.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the refreshed Silver Screen and Roll! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

I've always been an outsider. The only Sikh guy with a turban and a beard at my middle school, in my high school, in my Economics class at UCLA, in my MBA program at UC Irvine, in most of the rooms I walk in, at airports. It's just me. I'm used to the stares, I don't even notice them any more. There's very few people I relate to at this level, very few people I can talk to about it in this way. I'm at the stage in my life where I have embraced being the outsider, and to tell you the truth — I don't think I can function any other way.

This wasn't always the case, not even close.

You see, sports are more than a form of entertainment to me. Sports have been been my defense mechanism to combat social anxiety that plagued me as a young guy with no other way to fit in. I was able to force myself into conversations that I wasn't a part of after I overheard some kids talking about a sports topic that I knew something about.

Sports were the reason that I went from the front of the bus talking to nobody, just looking out a window (if I was born 10 years later, I guess I'd just be staring at my phone) to the loud guy in the back talking about the Lakers or whomever else we were talking about. This took years, and because I moved to the U.S. from the strange land of Canada in 1998, it took me a while to truly learn American sports, specifically the NBA.

While I picked up the basics of the NBA and followed the Lakers casually, I didn't become a die-hard fan until the 2003-2004 season. I was at an age (17) where I started to understand more of the nuances of the game, and I started to follow more of the news about the team and the league as a whole.

Not a bad season to really get into the Lakers, right? The Kobe case drama, Shaq/Kobe drama, Gary Payton and Karl Malone joined the team, it was a crazy year. I got so invested in the daily "made for Hollywood" nature of the team and more importantly looked forward to being the person who would be able to talk about it with the cool kids at school the next day.

Rooting for the Lakers has made me feel more connected to my city, my community, to a group bigger than myself. It has allowed me to find a second family in the Lakers online community, given me a group that I can comfortably call “my own.” I don’t know if I’ll raise a family of my own, but I know if I do, I’ll also have something to pass down to my kids.

Not bad for just being a game, right?

How did you become a fan of the Lakers? #ComeFanWithUs and drop a FanPost on Silver Screen and Roll about it, and you’ll be entered into the SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Reader Sweepstakes! It’s sweet to be a fan of the purple and gold right now, but how did we all get here? Let’s talk about it!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Reader Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to eligible legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.