I have been a Lakers fan since conception.
I've never really had a choice since I grew up in Southern California.
As tonight's monumental Game Five against the upstart Nuggets approaches, several friends have asked me, "Are you worried about the game today?"
The shock didn't come from the question—by all accounts, the Lakers have reason to be nervous—it was from my calculated, bordering on presumptuous response of "no, not really."
This is because the Lakers and, subsequently, their fans have grown a silent confidence that only they and Boston fans seem to have. While other teams and their fans panic or worry in situations such as these, Lakers fans simply carry this (sometimes) silent, yet boisterous confidence that we're going to pull it out somehow.
Maybe it comes from the players. We do have Kobe Bryant—the aptly-titled "closer" of the league.
Down 11 to the flaming-hot Nuggets in the fourth quarter of Game Four, every Laker fan waited with a confident disposition for the six-minute mark and the inevitable hail of shots from Kobe Bryant. Even in the loss, Kobe managed to carry his quiet confidence by not looking one bit worried on the sideline or post-game interview.
Perhaps it's the coach. He is a nine-time NBA Champion with a resume that makes Bud Kilmer look meager in comparison. His teams have never lost after winning the first game of a series, and are 42-1 when leading in a series in general. No matter how irritating his over-confidence may be, you always feel safe knowing he'll think of something—even if you have to wait until the next game instead of half-time or the next quarter.
Could it be the so-called "Laker Magic?" It's that little something special the Lakers get at home when all the world's celebrities are in the building and Jack Nicholson is riding the refs like they're Lindsay Lohan.
It could possibly be none of these things or all of the above, but, whatever it is, it's working. The Lakers coming out lackadaisically and getting blown out in Denver by 30 points wouldn't shock me one bit. Honestly, with how these playoffs are going, I'm secretly expecting it.
But we'll win Game Seven. Of this I'm certain.
The scary part is that the Lakers are certain, too.