From the beginning of the Stockton/Malone years--when the Jazz first became competitive--until just a few years ago when an aging Kobe (and a stupid Laker ownership team) crippled the Laker's chances to be good, it has been the duty of every faithful Jazz fan to hate the Lakers.
For many years, the Lakers have been able to unfairly use their status as a large, big-money, glamour market to steal away the star players of other teams through lopsided trades, free agency, or otherwise, with the apparent approval of the NBA, resulting in a string of (mostly undeserved) NBA championships. For example, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson (courtesy of a lopsided trade with the Jazz resulting in the #1 draft pick with which Magic was selected), Kobe Bryant (by threatening not to play for any team drafting him other than the Lakers), Shaquille O'Neale, Pau Gasol, and now, LeBron James, were all acquired without much effort on the part of the Lakers.
On the other hand, other NBA teams have generally had to have very good management and a lot of luck to build a championship team.
The past few years, as a result of the total ineptitude of the Laker front office and the ability of star players to get plenty of media attention and good endorsements while playing in smaller markets, the Lakers have been relegated to being a lottery team whom I have not only often made fun of but also even felt a bit sorry for. However, with the Lakers finally getting lucky on a few of their lottery picks (even a blind squirrel can find a nut sometimes) and with LeBron James recently signing with the Lakers in free agency (to get a head start on his life after basketball), I believe it has become not only fun, fashionable and acceptable, but also our sacred duty as Jazz fans, to hate the Lakers again.
The Jazz play the Lakers tonight for the first time in the LeBron James era. As Jazz fans, let's all get excited once again at being able to sincerely despise the Lakers as one of our most hated rivals.
It feels like a rebirth.
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