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Ahead of NBA Playoffs, this championship franchise has the most superstitious fan base in sports

In the realm of sports fanaticism, where fervor meets folly, no fans tread with more superstitious swagger than the followers of the Los Angeles Lakers.

From lucky charms to pre-game rituals, Lakers fans have turned superstition into an art form, and their passion is unrivaled, even amongst the most eccentric sports enthusiasts.

So buckle up, basketball fans, as we delve into the mystical world of Lakers lunacy.

In a recent study conducted by, fans of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Cowboys emerged as the undisputed champions of superstition.

When it comes to superstitions, Lakers fans don’t just don their teams’ colors and cross their fingers. Their superstitions are strange and run deep, sometimes through generations. They also aren’t the only ones with superstitions. The star players have them as well.

LeBron James, the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, and talismanic figure of the Lakers has his own set of routines and superstitions that fans emulate with religious fervor.

Los Angeles Lakers v Washington Wizards
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers throws chalk before the game against the Washington Wizards on April 3, 2024 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)

From his iconic chalk toss, to his right arm sleeve, sneakers, and pre-game attire, LeBron is meticulous with every detail, and his superstitions have become gospel for the Lakers faithful.

“He used to lay his jersey out on the floor,” said former teammate Mario Chalmers about James’ superstition when they played together with the Miami Heat on the Playmaker podcast. “That man would lay his whole outfit all over the floor before the game and makes sure everybody walks around it. One time the media walked over the jersey and he snapped. He made the kit man get him a whole new jersey, shorts, tights, headband, armband, socks, and everything. And he lay it right back out.”

But James is not the only Lakers player with a set of superstitions. Anthony Davis, the Lakers’ towering big man also has a penchant for wearing the same pair of socks over and over again during winning streaks.

So if the Lakers were to run through the playoffs and advance to the NBA Finals this spring, their success could be directly correlated to Davis’ sock drawer.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Six
Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after his steal against the Golden State Warriors during the third quarter in game six of the Western Conference Semifinal Playoffs at Arena on May 12, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

In the purple and gold tapestry of Lakers fandom, every fan has a story, superstition, or peculiar practice as well.

Meet Michelle Rodriguez, a Lakers die-hard who believes she can tip the scales of fate in favor of the Lake Show by watching every game from her favorite La-Z-Boy recliner. If the Lakers are losing and in need of a comeback, she changes the position of the chair to a precise angle that she believes can change the team’s fortune.

“It’s all about the angle of victory,” she said. “Anything I can do to maximize the good vibes.”

Then there’s Kevin “Lucky Charm” Thompson, who attends every Lakers game with his trusty rabbit’s foot keychain. He unveiled it outside arena ahead of a recent Lakers’ victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“It’s been with me since the Kobe era,” he chuckles, patting the worn-out charm for good luck. If the Lakers are winning, you can bet that Lucky Charm is in the building.

He’s not alone though.

As a personal anecdote: while in college at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the Lakers dynasty was in the middle of the Shaq and Kobe era. My own superstition was that if the Lakers were trailing at the half, during the “Jack in the Box” sponsored halftime show, I would drive the half-mile to the nearby Jack in the Box and order food, eat it during the half, and it would help the Lakers rally for the victory.

Consuming the high-calorie Jumbo Jacks and curly fries was certainly not constructive for my diet, but anything for the purple and gold to raise another banner.

Speaking of Shaq and Kobe, the Lakers dynamic duo each had their own superstitions during the “Three-Peat” years from 2000-2002.

According to former Lakers’ forward Horace Grant, Shaq developed a strange good luck pattern after one of his toenails had fallen off during a game.

O’Neal would reportedly paint the skin of the toe that had lost the toenail with a black toenail hardener. The first time he did it he scored a career-high 41 points.

“I painted my toenails before Dennis Rodman,” said O’Neal. “One time at training camp, I stubbed my toe and the nail came loose. My mom gave me some toenail hardener, and I painted over it. I scored 40-something points that night, so it became a ritual. Paint my toenails, score 40 points.”

Kobe Bryant (L) of the Los Angeles Lakers holds th
Kobe Bryant (L) of the Los Angeles Lakers holds the Larry O’Brian trophy as teammate Shaquille O’Neal (L) hold the MVP trophy after winning the NBA Championship against Indiana Pacers 19 June, 2000, after game six of the NBA Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. The Lakers won the game 116-111 to take the NBA title 4-2 in the best-of-seven series. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP via Getty Images)

The late great Kobe Bryant, left an indelible mark on the court, but also had quirky rituals off of it. Bryant famously would wear two pairs of socks for added comfort. During his final season, he released a collection of performance socks featuring his “Black Mamba” alter ego. After a dominating victory over the Golden State Warriors that year, Bryant credited his performance to “the power of the socks.”

Kobe also had a very specific free-throw routine as well.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots a free-throw after sustaining an injury during a game against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on April 12, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

The regular season is now over, and the Lakers are set to take center stage in the Play-In Tournament on Tuesday. No matter the outcome, they will play at least one more game at Arena. When they do, “the house that Kobe built” will transform into a theater of superstition.

The orchestrated cacophony of sounds – lucky chants, synchronized claps, and the thunderous roar of Lakers fans – creates an otherworldly atmosphere. It’s as if the collective energy of thousands of superstitious souls converges to cast a spell over the court.

For Lakers fans, championships aren’t just about the talent on the court; they’re about the meticulous observance of superstitious rites. From the lucky snacks consumed during pivotal moments to the specific seats occupied during playoff games, each fan plays a crucial role in the cosmic ballet of Lakers superstitions.

Remember the Lakers’ 2010 championship run? Fans attribute that success to the collective effort of adhering to superstitions with religious zeal. Some claim it was the lucky jerseys worn for every game, while others swear by the communal practice of chanting “Kobe” during free throws. Whatever the secret sauce, it worked, and Lakers fans are convinced their superstitious endeavors played a pivotal role in the outcome.

Rebecca Phillips, a longtime Lakers fan from Sylmar, was at Game 7 of that 2010 NBA Finals between the Lakers and the rival Celtics. Adorned in a Kobe jersey to start the game, she quickly switched to a Ron Artest one at the half with the Lake Show trailing 40-34. After a couple of shots of whiskey to calm her nerves, the Lakers rallied in the fourth quarter to win the game, and what was the shot that sealed the championship for the Lake Show?

A three-pointer by Artest.

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
Ron Artest #37 of the Los Angeles Lakers raises his arms after making a three-point shot against the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 17, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

The mystical journey through Lakers superstitions is as diverse as the City of Angels itself. Some fans swear by wearing a lucky Lakers hat, while others perform intricate handshakes with fellow fans to channel positive energy.

Whether it’s a lucky jersey, a pre-game dance, or a whispered incantation during a crucial possession, Lakers fans understand that superstitions are not just quirks – they’re an integral part of the Lakers experience.

In the grand tapestry of sports fandom, Lakers superstitions stand tall as a cultural phenomenon. From the Magic Johnson era to the Kobe & Shaq era to now the LeBron and AD era, each generation of Lakers fans has added its chapter to the mystical saga.

As the Lakers chase another championship this postseason, fans will continue to wear their lucky socks, perform their sacred rituals, and contribute to the symphony of superstition that echoes through the hallowed halls of Arena.

So, the next time you witness a Lakers fan engaged in a seemingly bizarre pre-game routine, remember – it’s not madness; it’s Lakers lunacy, an integral part of the Lake Show mystique that elevates the game from mere competition to a cosmic ballet of superstition and spectacle.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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