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Catching On

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If one thing could have brought late Boston Celtics legend Red Auerbach back from the great beyond, it was what happened Wednesday night in the house he built.

Near the end of a Laker win where Kobe Bryant dropped 43 on Boston, Celtics fans started chanting “M-V-P, M-V-P” for Kobe. Somewhere in Indiana Larry Bird must have gotten a chill up his spine. A Laker winning over the fans of their most hated rival, the franchise of Cousy and Russell and Havlicek and Bird. The fans that made the “Beat LA” chant their rallying cry were backing Kobe. Maybe it’s best Red never saw that.

But those Celtics fans are not alone. After each town the Lakers move through, the basketball blogsphere (it exists, don’t laugh) finds writers are saying, “I hate to say this, but Kobe and these Lakers are fun to watch.” The Lakers have become a team in the classic sense — Kobe is sharing the ball, and the spirit is infectious. After a game a few weeks ago, Denver coach George Karl called the Lakers “the best passing team in the NBA.” And he’s right. The Lakers are moving their feet and the ball and it can be about as beautiful as the game gets. (Well, as long as you don’t watch them play defense.)

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The best example of Laker converts from the best NBA blogger out there, the smart and exceedingly well-read Henry Abbot at True Hoop. He’s a lifelong Portland Trailblazers fan who admittedly hates just one team in the NBA — the Lakers. The architect of his pain for decades.

And Henry recently said: