The Los Angeles Lakers, the LA basketball team, won the 2009 national basketball championship by defeating Orlando Magic 4-1 yesterday to win their 15th NBA title. It was a fantastic series. The 4th game that witnessed the rebound of Lakers was simply phenomenal. It must have been equally phenomenal for the Lakers fans so one would have expected crazy excitement in the jam packed bars, private parties and on the streets after the final win.
As the Lakers were kissing the trophy and giving speeches at Orlando, Lakers fans in LA downtown turned violent. I watched it on the news as half the places looked familiar.
The crazy fan mob pulled out shrubs from Staples center and burned it so they could jump over the flames and dance around it. They messed up the outside walls of the venue with graffiti.
There's a brand new bar close by with hundreds of bottles on display. Their owners were guarding the place with their life instead of celebrating and keeping it open for business after a few fans threw stones at it. Nearby Ralphs and Robeck's were attacked as well.
Poor Carlos (owner of a nearby gas station) looked too sad for words when he told me today that the fans looted his store last night. Chips, drinks, chocolates... all gone. (On the bright side, Carlos was getting ready for an interview with a local news channel so guess it's not all bad.)
Fires were set, objects were thrown at police officers, several businesses were looted and buses, police cars and other vehicles were vandalized. They threw rocks at abandoned buses as LAPD struggled to put out the blaze and chase the knuckleheads from downtown soon after.
It was nothing short of a riot.
Hooligans or die-hard fans.... what are we? Why does excitement have to be manifested in a destructive manner? This is why we can't have nice things in LA. It's taken so much effort on behalf of the city and the investors of businesses around to make this place safe, livable and enjoyable. So much has gone into making this the 'Times Square of the West’. And we have to get cops to shut this place down on a remarkable day like this instead of everyone hanging around and having a blast like the real Times Square. What a shame.
Hopefully we can behave ourselves during the upcoming Lakers victory parade on Wednesday.
Gosh I sound like a grandma.