I never fail to hear someone accuse another of being a bandwagon fan whenever the NBA Playoffs are around, especially when it comes to the Finals. One would start cheering for a team, and another person would ask, “Really? You’re a fan of ? Since when?”
I get their point. And those bandwagon fans also annoy me sometimes, especially when they start talking as if they’ve been a fan of the team for years. Ask them who the backup center of the team is and they won’t give you an answer.
But there’s nothing wrong with being a bandwagoner. Everyone starts there. I jumped on the Sacramento Kings bandwagon in 2002 after their championship-deserving performance versus the Lakers. I jumped on the Detroit Pistons bandwagon in 2004 after manhandling the Lakers in the Finals (a well-deserved beating for the Lakers then). That same year, I hopped on the Phoenix Suns bandwagon after seeing them start the season so well and in an exciting manner. In 2010 or 2011, I boarded the New York Knicks bandwagon.
The leap to the Suns was different from the others. For Detroit and Sacramento, I alighted the bandwagon shortly after riding it. For Phoenix, I stayed on. I am on it as I write this piece. The Knicks are a different case all together.
It always starts at the bandwagon. It’s hard to cheer for a shitty losing team. Why cheer for a loser? That is why the bandwagon exists. So that casual fans will have some team to cheer about, the winners. Cut them some slack and make them experience the moment while it lasts.
When Amare Stoudemire of the Suns left the team and went to New York, I started supporting the Knicks. When Steve Nash left Phoenix, I started supporting the Lakers even if they are one of my hatest teams. I jumped on those two bandwagons because my two most favorite players left Phoenix and moved to those two.
The true test of fanhood begins as soon as the team starts losing. Face it, the Phoenix Suns are a mess. Yet here I am still very supportive of the team.
This is where the bandwagon fans become the faithful, the true fans. This sucking stage, call it an initiation rite to becoming a team’s legitimate fan.