In my opinion, Chicago fans are a hell of a lot more enthusiastic than LA fans. No offense, Matt.
None taken, and I agree with that 100%, Justin. In fact, I'd say that L.A. might have the worst fans in the whole country when it comes to sports. They're completely fair-weathered, they show up to games late and leave early, often only attending to "be seen" or because it's the hip thing to do around town. One of my former bosses had season tickets to the Lakers for the past 7 years, but didn't know a single thing about basketball, or the NBA. So he'd hound me constantly for info on players, teams, rules or just general reasons that things transpire as they do in a game. Totally bizarre. But he wanted to be in the "hip" L.A. crowd, and maybe do some business networking at the games. He eventually caught onto most aspects of the game, and became a decent fan over the years, but it all still seemed so goddamned superficial to me.
Not to mention that L.A. fans are about as quiet as they come. Nobody makes a peep during games (especially Lakers) for fear of looking silly or embarrassing themselves. It's not until the last couple minutes of the 4th quarter in a close game that the crowd finally feels it's safe to get involved and start cheering the team on. It's actually quite sad, I think. Dodgers fans are a little better, at least as far as loyalty goes, but many of the same things apply: Come late, leave early, pretty quiet, etc. I won't even mention the NFL, since our fans (and some dickhead owners) were so weak we couldn't even keep a pro franchise in town!
Kings games are often a mixture of decent and loyal hockey fans, mixed in with some of the "I want to be seen" crowd that you get at Lakers games.
I've been to a lot of other pro (and college) sports games in other cities, and it doesn't even compare. In a lot of those cities, their sports teams are the main attraction in town, so all of the community's support and energy goes thrown behind their team(s) 100%. It's really a great thing to be in that type of atmosphere, and makes me very jealous that we don't have that type of setting out here at our games. I think with Southern California having so many other points of interest as far as entertainment goes, and/or distractions, the competition for people's time and money is too diversely spread out, and the sports teams suffer because of it.
I think the greatest sports environment that I've ever been in was the "Shark Tank" for UNLV basketball games back in the late 80's and early 90's when they had some of the greatest teams in college hoops history. That stadium full of insane college kids and Vegas suppoters rocked like nothing I've ever seen. Absolutely electric. You could almost get a natural high just being amongst it.
Anyway, yeah, Lakers fans generally aren't too great. But when their superstar is completely quitting in Game 7 of the playoffs, can you really blame them?