Tonight the Utah Jazz, the surging Utah Jazz, will host the Los Angeles Lakers. Let me be honest, there are only a select few teams around the league that I would say our franchise has a relationship with. There's the regional rivalry against the Denver Nuggets. And historically there's the playoff rivalries against the Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, and Seattle Supersonics. None of our fans will forget the battles against the Chicago Bulls either. For the most part, these are teams that the Jazz have some level of give and take against. It's not always so one-sided, even if most of history thinks it is.
There's one franchise where our relationship does stray from competition to "do they even know I exist?" And that's the relationship we have with the Los Angeles Lakers. Jazz fans cherish beating the Lakers, and makes us so very happy. For the Lakers, every team wants to be their rivals, though; and I don't even know if losing to the Jazz even garners a reaction from them anymore.
I understand this implicitly, as the Jazz are 63 - 103 overall in regular season games. That's to say, the Jazz and Lakers have played in the regular seasons 166 times, and our guys won 63 of those contests. That winning percentage is just 37.95%. If you look at just the last few seasons, from 2000-2001 till today (2014-2015 for the time travelers reading this), the teams have faced off only 68 times. (Including playoff games) The Jazz are 26 - 42 in this slice of time; which is a robust 38.24% winning percentage against the Lakers.
If you are in your mid 20s and are a "lifelong" Jazz fan this is what you grew up with:
That's the final margin of every game these two squads have played.
The final margin distribution isn't so fly either.
Jazz fans don't like the press the Lakers get, how often they are on TV, the attitude of some of their players, the "star calls", the behavior of some of their fans at Jazz home games, the dismissiveness they have of the Jazz franchise . . . but most of all, I think it's because the Jazz just really lose to LA a lot.
The head to head trials in the playoffs are in their favor, and the regular seasons matches are only recently a contest when they are at home. Before it was impossible to expect the Jazz fight hard in LA. This new crew seems to be capable of it, and in the next 15 seasons perhaps we will see a reversal of fortune. Time will tell. But even when time ends, Jazz fans will still irrationally hate the Los Angeles Lakers.