Los Angeles: Roundball Mecca

Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N

Kurt Streeter of the LA Times rightfully earned our wrath when he played the race card out there in a final last gasp attempt at saving Karl Dorrell's job, and in light of that criticism, it seems only fair to highlight when he does something right. I'm talking about his article declaring Los Angeles as the the biggest, baddest, most powerful basketball empire of them all". Built on the backs of the 14 time NBA Champion Lakers and of course, the 11 time National Champion UCLA Bruins, the basketball tradition of this city is without peer:

We tend to forget this. We have grown accustomed to thinking the last several decades we've experienced here -- stuffed with genius players, master coaches and scores of titles -- is somehow normal, somehow automatic. As automatic as a Kareem sky hook or a Kevin Love dunk or a Kobe Bryant three-pointer with time ticking off the clock.

Every now and then I like to take a step back and appreciate the situation that UCLA Basketball finds itself in, because not 5 years ago, our current situation would have been unimaginable. One needs look no farther than the basketball coach poser calling our game today to see that success isn't automatic.

You see it -- good fortune -- watching the Bruins with their gifts of talent and youth -- Russell Westbrook's slam, Josh Shipp's steal and drive -- all of this on a court shadowed by blue and gold NCAA title banners hanging from the rafters. There's 1964 and 1965. There's 1973 and 1975 and 1995 . . . banner next to banner next to banner.

How many Saturdays have been like this, games with an elite, highly ranked home team tested against a tough challenger?

Too many Saturdays to count. So many that we sometimes forget that in other cities -- in places such as Chicago and San Francisco, New York and Philadelphia -- college games with this kind of magnitude and talent rarely take place.

It's hard to imagine a more ideal situation for a hoops junkie than to spend weekends in LA in winter or spring soaking in the tradition of Pauley or the glitz of Staples. It's not wrong for Bruin fans to have high expectations for their team, but I wonder how many of the biggest critics are able to stop and just appreciate leading the charge to what is hopefully a third straight Pac 10 Championship. We live and die with every minute of every game because we care about our team, but sometimes it feels like we're too close to the action to see the big picture. I know it feels that way for me sometimes. When that happens, I remind myself that it could be worse. Much worse.

If anything, L.A.'s true challengers are smaller cities of the south and Midwest. I'm thinking of Durham and Lexington and Memphis and Knoxville. A team from one of those towns may well win an NCAA title this season. Kudos to them, at least they provide the Bruins worthy competition. None of these towns will lift an NBA banner in our lifetime.

We can always ship them the Clippers.

But maybe the Clippers are good for us. Same goes for Trojans' basketball. The Clippers and Trojans are reminders that winning big -- year after year, decade after decade, college and pro -- is neither normal nor automatic.

Emphasis mine. An appropriate shot at the trOJans is a good way to get spotlighted on BN. Although comparing trOJan basketball to the Clippers is frankly an insult to the Clippers.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.

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