A succession of bad news for the Los Angeles Lakers franchise is bringing fans out into the streets for a planned protest on Friday.
While such direct action among sports fans has traditionally been rare, the recent fortunes of the team, which missed the playoffs in LeBron James’ first year in Los Angeles, appear to have pushed some fans of the team to action.
Per Fansided, the protest, which is scheduled to take place outside of the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles Friday, was originally organized on Reddit, with the plans later picked up by local and national media. Suggested chants include “Sell the team!,” “Fire Rambis!” and “Fire Linda!”
Rambis is Kurt Rambis, a former Lakers player who is said to have been exercising a great deal of front office power in recent months along with his wife, Linda.
It’s unclear how the team will respond to the protesters. An organizer, according to The Ringer, told a local sports radio station Thursday that they’re expecting 60-80 attendees.
Since the Lakers successfully lured James to the West Coast last summer, little has gone right for the storied franchise. The Lakers were not able to land a second star, either in the offseason or once the season started. The team’s young core failed to develop into a contending squad alongside James, and a long pursuit in February of star New Orleans big man Anthony Davis not only didn’t succeed, but also insulted the young players who were mentioned in daily trade rumors.
The Lakers missed the playoffs, Lakers legend Magic Johnson suddenly resigned his position as front office boss on the last day of the season, and the team parted ways with coach Luke Walton. Then, neither reported finalist for the team’s coaching job panned out, with Monty Williams going to the Phoenix Suns and negotiations with former Lakers player Tyronn Lue falling apart without a deal.
ESPN‘s Stephen A. Smith, per The Inquisitr, reported that Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has been urged by unnamed friends to trade James, less than a year after his arrival with the Lakers. It’s not known who it was that was urging such a move.
Aside from direct protests related to specific social issues, the only similar protest in memory of fans against the perceived incompetence of their team’s ownership was a group of Cleveland Browns fans who held a parade to protest the team’s 0-16 season in January of 2018, per Sports Illustrated. The Browns dramatically improved in 2018, although it’s unclear if the protest had anything to do with that.