An Open Letter To Los Angeles Lakers Fans

Dear Denzel, Jack, LC, Leo, Tobey, Weezy, Wayne, et al.,

I hate you. And not because you are terrible people, but because you are Lakers fans (which sort of makes you terrible people, now that I think about it). And because you were all there at the Staples Center last night, to watch your beloved Purple and Gold demolish the upstart Orlando Magic in Game One of the NBA Finals.

See, I am an Orlando Magic fan (yes, we exist). I have been one for 20 years now. I went to the first-ever game at the (then) Orlando Arena -- a November 11, 1989, preseason tilt that we actually won, 111-106 over the New Jersey Nets -- rode high through the Shaq and Penny years, bottomed out during the lean times, had hope during the the T-Mac era, lost that hope during even more lean times, and now, am recharged by the Dwight Howard administration. I have followed this once hapless (and hopeless) franchise to the cusp of championship glory ... something I never believed I'd be able to say. And now, all that's standing in the way is the loathsome Kobe Bryant, the hirsute Pau Gasol, the gangly (and overrated) Phil Jackson and, of course, all of you.

Which is why I hate you. All of you. I mean, the Lakers have won 15 world championships already. They stole Shaq away from the Magic, destroying not just the franchise, but the entire fanbase, for roughly a decade. They play in Los Angeles, a glamorous and amazing place, packed with beautiful people and expensive boutiques and more professional teams than I can rattle off here (yet no actual Lakes, but I digress). You people have it all.

Orlando has nothing. We've never won jack, save the two Arena Bowl titles the Predators won in '98 and '00 (and, yes, we proudly hang those banners from the rafters at the decrepit Amway Arena), and we don't even have enough celebrities to sit courtside. Seriously, it's Tiger Woods, maybe some retired WWF star ... and that's it. Lou Pearlman can't make it. Seems he's a little busy at the moment.

So, here's what I'm asking. Just let the Orlando Magic have this one. Please. Your lives will still be amazing, your houses glimmering, your boutiques expansive. The Lakers will probably win next year anyway. Convince me that you're not all terrible people who live in a gaudy, 21st Century Gomorrah. Show me you have compassion. Also, really, what's another championship at this point?

Orlando needs this. I need this. "The Fat Guy," Dennis Salvagio, the portly superfan who has sprinted around the lower bowl at Magic games for 20 years now, needs this. And if you don't do it for me, seriously, how can you say no to Dennis?