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Being a Bandwagon Fan Isn't All that Bad

navid · sports · opinion · 10/03/2020 · edited

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The Heatles
There are two different types of sports fans: the diehards and the bandwagons. To many, being a diehard fan is a sign of honor and loyalty; I don't deny that. In contrast, being a bandwagon fan is a sign of disgrace. That's where I disagree. I'm here to tell you that not all bandwagon fans are bad. Why should you listen me? Well I used to be one of them.

Going into the 2010 free agency I was a diehard Cavaliers fan. I had been since a couple of years prior, my hometown Supersonics were unceremoniously moved to Oklahoma City. Fuck Clay Bennett for that by the way. I picked Cleveland as my new favorite team and LeBron as my new favorite player; all was looking great. Other than getting cockblocked by the Celtics and Magic in the playoffs, the Cavs were a damn good team with a bright future. 

That is until LeBron made his infamous decision. To be honest, I was pretty young at the time and didn't really understand the concept of free agency all that well. In fact, I didn't even know about the decision until a few weeks later when my older brother brought it up in conversation. When I found out about the formation of "the Heatles," I vowed to root against Miami for the rest of time. 

That vow lasted for a few weeks until I watched them play. Their debut was against the much-hated Celtics who had a big three--arguably big four with Rondo--of their own. With how much I hated Miami, I found myself supporting Boston for the first time in my life. The Heat were unsurprisingly sloppy and the Celts ended up winning. On the outside, I was pretty happy that Miami dropped the game. But secretly, I had enjoyed watching the Heat play. 

Before I knew it, I was a full-blown Heatles fanboy and the accusations of being a bandwagoner started to set in. To be completely honest, they weren't technically false: I had started supporting the Miami Heat only after they got Bosh and James. However, I don't think my reasoning was worthy of the "backlash" I received.

People support teams for a lot of different reasons. Whether it be loyalty to a city, support for their favorite superstar, or just following around whoever is the most successful at the time. The title of "bandwagon fan" is most often assigned to the final two categories. I have no qualms with disliking fans in the last category. People who support teams just because they're winning so they can brag to their friends and say that they're the best suck ass. However, I don't necessarily agree with the hate for the second-to-last category or the one that I fall into.

I don't consider my support for the Miami Heat to be for any of the three reasons that I listed. I supported the Heat because I loved watching them play basketball. Anyone who watched them back in the day will know exactly what I mean. Few teams were more exciting than Miami. With Wade and LeBron throwing half-court alley-oops to each other and Chris Bosh summoning his inner-dinosaur with every dunk, Miami were a fun-ass team. Not to mention, they were defensively killer as well. As a fan of the game of basketball, Miami brought everything to the table. I think it's unfair to hate on people for supporting teams because they play good, fun, entertaining basketball. 

Look at the Warriors. Until just recently, they had the loudest, most-annoying fanbase I had ever seen. I'm sure most of them weren't diehard fans of the team or even how they played the game. However, there were probably a few of them in there. The Warriors transformed basketball completely. Even as recently as the early 2010s, scoring in double digits for the whole game wasn't strange. Nowadays, anything below 110 is considered low-scoring. A lot of that can be attributed to the run-and-gun Warriors and their "Splash Brothers." Even as a Cavaliers fan I can admit that they were fun to watch. I don't blame anyone for wanting to support a team who plays so damn well.

Now let's talk about people who support teams because of their superstars. I'll be honest with you, when LeBron left the Heat and returned to Cleveland I started supporting them again. This might be considered the ultimate taboo but I don't think so. Superstars are superstars for a reason. If you've watched LeBron James for his career, you will know that he changes teams around him. When LeBron joins your team, he doesn't play for them, they play for him. He brought the same style-of-play I loved from Miami to Cleveland. Of course I'm going to follow him there! People follow superstars because they love the way they play. I don't think that's a bad thing at all.

As I've grown older, I've returned to my roots of being a diehard fan. When LeBron joined the Lakers, I decided to stick with my Cavs. My young, bad, horribly-mismanaged Cavs. I still watch the Lakers from time-to-time and I still love how LeBron plays. It's just that I'd like to follow a team from the ground up this time. 

At the end of the day my point is that not all perceived "bandwagon fans" are bad fans. Those who follow superstars around or watch teams because they like how they play just have different reasons than you or I. That's not necessarily a bad thing. 

All that being said, fuck the Warriors.

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