Skip to content

Mike D’Antoni to frustrated Lakers fans: ‘Find another team to root for’

Dec 24, 2013, 9:20 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets Getty Images

Mike D’Antoni doesn’t get it.

His off-the-cuff style might work with players, and I’m sure the media loves it.

But after the Lakers lost by 27 points to the Suns on Monday, a game following a 19-point loss to the Warriors, D’Antoni went after the fans.

Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com (emphasis mine):

Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni was defiant when a reporter suggested fans have become “discouraged” by the team’s 13-15 start to the season.”Why would I be discouraged?” D’Antoni said. “We’re fighting with a bunch of good guys that played well before and they’ll play [well] again. If [the fans] are discouraged, then, you know, find another team to root for. I’m all right. We’re not going to give up. Are you kidding me? Discouraged? That’s not even fair to these guys.”

D’Antoni can be encouraged and keep everyone going with positive vibes. He can be discouraged and motivate his players with negativity. It doesn’t matter, in a grander sense, which direction he chooses to take the team. That’s his call.

But he never should tell fans to go away for simply being frustrated.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Christmas Day’s games. It’s just $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 12pm ET on Christmas Day. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The Lakers bring in massive sums of money – money that pays D’Antoni’s salary – because they have fans. Those fans buy tickets and merchandise. They view advertisements that bring money to the Lakers directly from in-arena advertisers and indirectly through TV and radio deals.

That money does not give fans an absolute right to say and do whatever they want. But getting frustrated with a struggling team? That’s well within their rights, and they don’t deserve a coach – whose salary they’re paying – to tell them otherwise.

D’Antoni should apologize. Today.

He can stick up for his players. He can explain why fans shouldn’t be frustrated – he’s definitely allowed to make his case, which he already began to do in the non-bolded portion of the excerpted quote. But he also must say he doesn’t want them to stop supporting the team.

The Lakers are a business, and that business is predicated on drawing fans. D’Antoni’s main job is to implicitly draw fans by winning, because fans flock to winners. He doesn’t need to shill actively for fans to spend money on the team.

But he can’t go as far as brazenly and overtly alienating the team’s customers.

Latest Posts
  1. Pistons waive Hasheem Thabeet

    Oct 20, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

    Detroit Pistons Media Day Detroit Pistons Media Day

    Detroit also cuts Brian Cook, Josh Bostic and Lorenzo Brown

  2. Lakers waive Jeremy Tyler, who’s China-bound

    Oct 20, 2014, 12:22 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers Media Day Los Angeles Lakers Media Day

    Door even more open for Ronnie Price and Wayne Ellington to make roster

  3. LeBron James reveals (?) his recruiting pitch

    Oct 20, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day Getty Images

    How did LeBron get Kevin Love, Shawn Marion, Mike Miller and James Jones to join the Cavaliers?

  4. Five favorites to win NBA 2014-15 MVP

    Oct 20, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers, Game 1 Getty Images

    Smart money should go on LeBron James, but there will be serious challengers.

  5. ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 preview: San Antonio Spurs

    Oct 20, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    2014 NBA Finals - Game Five Getty Images

    If they can stay a step ahead of father time the Spurs are the bar to clear to win an NBA title.

  6. 67RIEFNS No. 22: Disappointing second-year players looking for redemption

    Oct 20, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    2013 NBA Draft Lottery 2013 NBA Draft Lottery

    Anthony Bennett, Otto Porter, Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, C.J. McCollum among those looking to bounce back after underwhelming rookie years

  7. Joakim Noah wants Tom Thibodeau to do yoga with him

    Oct 19, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptq2njewnzjmmgrhmwvjyjm2mtnjzju3ymqwzgm4zmmy AP

    Tom Thibodeau is not the yoga type.

  8. Cavs coach David Blatt will treat Monday’s preseason minutes like the regular season

    Oct 19, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    LeBron James LeBron James

    LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will take the floor together for the first time since the preseason opener.

  9. NBA’s 44-minute game clocks in at under 2 hours, players barely notice (VIDEO)

    Oct 19, 2014, 7:01 PM EDT

    NETS V CELTICS NETS V CELTICS

    Experimental preseason game between Nets and Celtics took place Sunday.

  10. Nets coach Hollins on 44-minute game: ‘The change will be for the guys who don’t start’

    Oct 19, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Sacramento Kings - NBA Global Games Beijing Getty Images

    Hollins won’t adjust starters minutes as he coaches the Nets during the experimental game Sunday.

Featured video

What are impacts of NBA's new TV deal?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. B. Beal (3750)
  2. L. James (3615)
  3. D. Rose (3614)
  4. J. Lin (3470)
  5. N. Noel (3454)