Lakers fans are passionate, to put it in the simplest and kindest way possible. That passion can came out in really positive ways this season, like how the fans rooted for Dwight Howard after he left the team on bad terms seven years ago, and they supported Alex Caruso in his first full season in the NBA.
However, it can also come out in the worst ways, and we saw of that throughout the season too — particularly in the postseason. For example, when Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma were underperforming in the postseason, a pair of angry fans started petitions to try and prevent them from getting championship rings. Combined, the petitions got over 30 thousand signatures.
More often than not, the players on the team are able to block out the noise, and sometimes, they’re even able to laugh at themselves and their teammates along with the fans. But there are obviously times when it stops being funny, and Jared Dudley brought up one high-profile example on the “Load Management” podcast with JJ Redick:
“I’ve got to be honest with you. I’d be honest with you, I’d tell you if it bothered him. It didn’t bother him. You heard him, it’s for jokes. Kuzma, let me be honest with you: You don’t think we make fun of his outfits coming in sometimes, like we bashed on everybody ... We see everything, ‘oh, man, Dudley doesn’t deserve a ring. Man, I put 20-some years in this game and I don’t deserve it? Man, you can’t listen to it, man. You know this. With success, you’re gonna have your loved ones who think you’re the best, your mom who thinks you’re better than what you really are, and you’re gonna have some haters, that’s just how it is.
Now, the petition is low-key kinda funny. Like, really? Those aren’t true Laker fans, like Snoop Dogg calling out Danny Green and then when we win feeling good. Like this man Danny Green has won three championships on three different teams, being a starting shooting guard. Are we kidding? Like come on, man, like I agree, he missed a shot. He struggled at certain times, but the man is a career 40 (percent shooter).”
Of course, the shot Dudley is referring to is the wide-open 3-point shot that Green missed in the finals seconds of Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Had Green made the shot, the Lakers would have been crowned champions that night, and Green would have been the hero of the night.
Unfortunately for Green, he didn’t make the shot, which led to fans attacking him on social media — the most notable fan being Snoop Dogg. Dudley doesn’t fault Snoop (Dogg, Mr. Dogg?) for feeling angry, but he wishes that he expressed his feelings in a way that didn’t involve attacking Green’s character:
“Nah, nah, because I’m someone where I don’t question your fandom, because for one, he’s solidified, he’s cemented when it comes to fandom. I’m questioning your tactic on a trying to help a player help win your team a championship ... My only problem with it was you can’t call no man a bitch ... My whole thing is when you come to that, now we’re getting on something personal. And you know when you grow up, I don’t care what age you are, you hear that word, you’re automatically thinking fighting. We’re not fighting Snoop Dogg. He’s a fan...
My whole thing was that he wanted to win so bad, (he) got out of character. We all get out of character. I do that with my kids when I get mad at them when they slip up and I say something or do something I regret. I get it, but it’s like listen, you don’t think this man wants to hit a shot? This man shoots hundreds of shots every day. You don’t know what he’s going through in his personal life, you don’t his body. And you know what? No fan wants to hear all that. I agree. You don’t have to hear about it, just let the man work his way up, and look at it, next game, we win, he hits two threes, and now all is forgotten.”
The saddest part about all of this is that Snoop’s rant wasn’t even the worst thing to be directed at Green or his family the night Green missed that shot. That’s disgraceful.
It can be argued that the worst of the Lakers fanbase is often amplified and that most Lakers fans aren’t like that, and that’s probably true. But that doesn’t mean we can’t use this past season as a learning experience.
Whether it’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Green, or Kuzma, we can all afford to be a little more patient. I mean, just look at how inconsequential that shot ended up being only a game later. As the old saying goes: good things come to those who wait.